We are just one week away from meeting our baby! With every month of pregnancy that has gone by, the anticipation has been building. I feel her kicking and hiccuping and somersaulting inside me. We have seen the ultrasounds progressing from just a small dot to a full head, heart, lungs, and toes. We have re-arranged our home. Friendships and work are shifting to make space for her arrival. We have our hospital bag packed and carseat ready to go. We are very aware of her presence in our lives already, but soon she will be here face to face. I cannot even fathom what that day will be like.
Life with God is anticipatory. Paul wrote to the church in Corinthians saying, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known” (1 Cor. 13:12).” There will be a day that we can touch and see and talk to Jesus in his resurrected flesh. He will be as real to you as the person sitting next to you now. But that time has not arrived yet. For now, we can only sense the movement of God in our lives. The presence of God simultaneously changes everything right now, but is also yet to be fully felt.
When was the last time you anticipated meeting Jesus? Can you imagine what it will be like for him to make all things new? For him to reign with justice and mercy and to extinguish evil for good? To get to talk with him in person and ask him all your questions? To get to feel his literal touch and delight for you and your family? It sounds a bit absurd to even consider those questions, but that day will come when we know God in all his fullness, and we are right to anticipate it!
But while we anticipate, we also can experience the joys and convictions of God’s presence right now. We don’t just say, “well one day God will fix everything” and then shut our eyes until he does. Jeremy Begbie, theologian and professional pianist, says that music builds unto a great climax, but the beauty in the music is not just the climax itself but all the smaller waves of tension and resolution that build our anticipation along the way. Music would not be good music if we skipped to the ending too soon. When we experience God doing something right now — healing, speaking, teaching, convicting — we can celebrate those moments for what they are right now and celebrate the taste those moments give us of something much greater yet to come.
I literally cannot wait to hold my baby for the first time outside the womb. There is nothing I think of more often. But the change she has made in our lives began long before the delivery room. I am thankful for the long anticipation, for her surprise kicks and tiny hiccups, because it has only made my love grow even more.
What helps you anticipate Jesus and the day when he will set all things right? How might God want you to experience his presence and to allow him to change your life right now even as you wait?