The second word of the series is Expectation. As we are invited into this walk with Christ, there is much expectation.
I was thinking this morning of how as a little girl I anticipated birthday parties, or other celebrations or vacations. Truly the expectation was a good part of the thrill and enjoyment.
At times, people view Christianity as something to be feared, a big list of do's and don'ts.
When Jesus said come and follow me, it didn't mean my life would be easy. But what God offers is joy and peace, and companionship! There is an anticipation and expectation of what this looks like, what God, my heavenly father will do for me!
There is a wonderful verse from Exodus, "The Lord Himself will fight for you, just stay calm!" Wow... this is an invitation to be still, to let God do the work. I see this picture of a father saying... Calm down, let me take care of it.
We are called children of God, and when you sit with that thought, it frees me to truly trust, as I wait with expectation. I can tend to be a fearful person, but when I operate out of trust, knowing that God wants my best, it enables me to relax. King David said, "When I wait, You strengthen my heart."
The practice of Lent is still fairly new to me, and I've been reading what I can about it. My understanding is that it comes from the 40 days and nights Jesus spent in the wilderness before the beginning of his ministry. The season of Lent as we follow today is taking 40 days and nights (Sundays are excluded in this count) to reflect, to fast, to focus on the life of Christ as we prepare for Easter.
For some, this has become a time of giving up something. We were inspired by another idea, and want to give something, so we found a box and want to fill it with items that we can donate to those who need it.... an item for each day of Lent.
However you practice this season, for me, just like Advent, it is an invitation to look at the life of Christ, to prepare myself for this holy celebration. Jesus' time in the wilderness was a time to wait on God, and as I learn from that example I feel compelled to wait... to wait with expectation to see what God has for me.
In the waiting, it is good to be reminded of Jesus' words, as I quoted last week: "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28).
I love the paraphrase of this verse in the Message, "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me... watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."
As we wait in expectation oh God, may our hearts draw near to You. Amen.