Last week Tennessee Governor, Bill Lee, announced the gradual process of reopening the state.
Today, restaurants will open with some restrictions. That means we can go eat breakfast at Crockett’s or lunch at Applewood Farms.
The Canadian Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford, announced that he will be revealing plans to reopen Ontario’s economy “early next week.” He said the plan will be “a gradual and measured approach.” But, I’m hopeful that means the U.S.-Canadian border will open soon.
Maybe this means we can go to Canada this summer. Get a haircut soon. And begin to resume some normalcy to our lives.
We are living in anticipation.
To anticipate literally means to “take before.” It carries with it the idea of expectation. “To think, speak, act, or feel an emotional response in advance.”
While anticipating something negative involves a feeling of apprehension, dread or worry, positive anticipation elicits feelings of confidence, joy, and hope of a brighter tomorrow.
The apostle Paul in his writings often spoke of his joyful feelings of anticipation in his ministry. He looked forward to seeing the brethren in Rome, to impart to them a spiritual gift, and enjoy mutual encouragement in the faith” (Rom. 1:8-15).
Paul expressed confidence in his co-workers and fellow ministers, Titus and Timothy, anticipating that they would be faithful and fruitful in their ministry and well received by the churches.
And, of course, the apostle toward the end of his life was eagerly anticipating his future heavenly reward knowing that he had “fought the good fight… finished the race…kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:6-8).
Living with optimistic anticipation is necessary to living a life that matters. That makes a difference. Realizes its potential. Achieves worthy goals. And encourage others.
John Maxwell in his wonderful book, “Intentional Living,” dedicates an entire chapter to the importance of anticipation. He points out that positive anticipation is a prelude to success and ultimate significance in life. When we live with anticipation we plan, prepare, and position ourselves to make a difference. Not just physically, financially, and vocationally, but also spiritually.
Two points Maxwell makes that are particularly relevant right now during this current crisis are (1) Anticipation causes us to value today; (2) Anticipation prompts us to prepare.
While we are “sheltering in place,” it’s easy to become bored. For one day to become like the next. Or fritter away our time watching TV or various mindless activities.
However, many are using this time to make memories with their family. Build better relationships. Tackle important projects. Read. Study. Meditate. Grow spiritually. And creatively reach out and minister to others without violating social distancing.
Today is important. Valuable. And significant. Because it’s the only day we have. The Bible urges us to “number our days” (Ps 90:12). Maxwell observed “the difference between assuming and numbering your days is huge.” Since we have no promise of tomorrow, every God-given day is important. We can approach it with excitement. Urgency. And anticipation.
Really living today motivates us to wisely and carefully use this day and make the most of our time (Eph. 5:15-16).
Anticipation allows us to believe that “this too shall pass.” The country is beginning to open up. Over the next few days, weeks and months we will return to familiar activities. It will probably be a “new normal,” or as one pundit quipped “a new abnormal.” But the quarantine will be lifted.
We will return to work. To school. To sporting events. And, thankfully we anticipate a time to return to worship services at our churches.
So, are we properly preparing for what lies ahead?
My friend, preaching colleague and fellow blogger, Roger Shouse, recently posted a challenge for churches to contemplate their first Sunday back at worship. It will be a special time. A wonderful day to celebrate. I would encourage preachers and pastors to click here and read Roger’s suggestions.
Like all of you, I’m eagerly anticipating that special Sunday. What a joy it will be to see one another face to face. To sing together. Pray together. Commune together. And share the Word together. And at some point to shake hands and hug each other.
It’s a wonderful God-given emotion. We can use it for good. To generate positive plans. Unlock ideas. And lift others to higher level of living. To make life better. Brighter. Buoyant.
For the believer anticipation transcends this old world. In the words of the hymnist, Ada Powell:
Sing to me of Heaven, sing that song of peace
From the toils that bind me it will bring release
Burdens will be lifted that are pressing so
Showers of great blessing o’er my heart will flow
Sing to me of Heaven, let me fondly dream
Of it’s golden glory, of its pearly gleam
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall
Sing to me of heaven, sweetest song of all.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman