I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the idea of savoring goodness. I have had to learn a lot about finding goodness in the small things throughout my journey to freedom. That’s the easy part – being aware, open and present to see what’s in FRONT of me. The snuggles from my dogs, the fact that I have a warm place to live, I had enough money to buy groceries, the students who leave flowers and love notes on my desk in the morning before school starts, the way my friend showed up with a Target gift card to help relieve the burden financially when my dog got sick… and the list could go on and on!
But what about goodness that has not yet come to pass?
What about the anticipation of things to come that we desire and long for?
What about the excitement of waiting to see what GOOD things the Lord has in store for us?
What of the deffer ed expectations for reconciliation and restitution?
What happens inside our bodies as we wait for the restoration of what evil has destroyed? “So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten” -Joel 2:25
As I wait – what is my attitude? Am I enjoying the yearning, desire and process? Do I recognize that Jesus CONTINUALLY pursues me in love? Even as I wait for greater things? Psalm 23 says, “Surely goodness and mercy shall FOLLOW (chase after and pursue) me ALL the days of my life.”
OR, am I becoming disgruntled, agitated and depressed?
As I thought about this concept of awaiting greater goodness – certain names came to mind. Esther, Ruth, and Hannah. Each of these women waited in sweet anticipation for the Lord to MOVE on their behalf – in the midst of expectancy they loved their Savior well. They followed thru and engaged in extremely daring and scandalous acts despite having any certainty of the outcome.
Selling my 5 bedroom home so that I could move to a new city I’ve never lived in before, not knowing whether or not I’d be able to financially support myself. God called me to leave my marriage – and I did.
Walking thru divorce – not knowing the outcome – if he would become more violent and vindictive. Losing my family of origin in the process as they chastised me for my decision. Like Esther, I moved boldly forward without knowing the outcome. “If I die, I die”, said Esther. “If I lose loved ones, I lose them – but I will stand with TRUTH”, I said.
Esther was waiting in anticipation when she was charged by Mordecai to ADVOCATE for her people. She responded to an injustice. Many of us in our abusive marriages are FORCED to respond to the INJUSTICE. We must confront in love and then do what we must to stand with truth and protect the life that God has given us. Esther waited in anticipation – not knowing the result of her request to the king. As she awaited greater goodness she fasted and prayed. “Go and gather together all the Jews of Susa and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will do the same. And then, though it is against the law I will go in to see the King.” -Esther 4:15-16 The wait for her must have been torture.
Ruth, recognized simple goodness daily as she collected barley in Boaz’s field – she daily expressed gratitude in this small kindness but, in her own right did something very brazen, bold and beautiful. Not knowing the outcome of her BRAVERY – she humbly risked and obeyed, making herself completely vulnerable. She laid herself at the feet of Boaz – asking him to choose her – to act as her kinsman redeemer. I wonder what the anticipation was like for her – “Ruth approached quietly, uncovered his feet and lay down. In the middle of the night something startled the man; he turned – and there was a woman lying at his feet… “I am your servant Ruth,” she said. “Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a guardian – redeemer of our family.” -Ruth 3:7-9 She did not have a guarantee that Boaz would agree to this yet, she awaited goodness with bravery, trust and vulnerability.
Hannah’s expectant hope for greater goodness brings tears to my eyes. The deepest longing and desire gone unmet for such a great woman of faith. The gift of motherhood. I can relate. This woman also made herself completely vulnerable – before her Lord and Savior. She KNEW the goodness of the Lord and she laid her hopes on Him. Not only, did she await greater goodness – she was persecuted during her wait. How many of us can relate to that? I was persecuted as I trusted the Holy Spirit to LEAVE my abusive marriage, sell my childhood home, stand up to the abusers in my family of origin, confront the evil behavior that had been running rampant for decades. I was called unloving, unforgiving, unrepentant, dishonoring, a bitch, unsubmissive, and disrespectful. I love my Lord and Savior so much, yet the persecutors claimed I was without His love and salvation. Hannah, too received insult over injury: “Hannah went up to the house of the Lord, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat.” -1 Samuel 1:7
This did not deter Hannah’s most GOD GIVEN LONGINGS and DESIRES. Her body was GOOD, her desires were GOOD, her heart for a child reflected the IMAGE OF GOD within her. She said, “Lord, Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life…Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief” Eli answered her, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him… Elkanah made love to his wife Hannah, and the Lord REMEMBERED HER.”
-1 Samuel 1: 15 – 19
I can just hear the pain and deep longing in her prayer – as she waited in anticipation to see the greater goodness of the Lord. She did not know the outcome – yet she vulnerably let her wants and desires be known!
As I reflect on the stories of these three women – I can’t help but think that as the church, A believer in Jesus Christ, I too, am awaiting greater goodness. Apart from my physical longings and desires here on this Earth – in human form – I await the greater goodness in the GLORY OF THE LORD. I await the GLORY of my RESCUER, my REDEEMER – the ONE WHO HAS CALLED ME BY NAME!
Hebrews says that, “Abraham waited patiently, and he received what God promised.”
“He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to BRING SALVATION to all who are EAGERLY WAITING FOR HIM.” – Hebrews 9:28
“The night is almost gone, the day of salvation is nearer now than we first believed… Because we BELONG TO THAT DAY, we must live decent lives for all to see.” – Romans 13:11
“And through your faith God is PROTECTING YOU by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be REVEALED on the last day for ALL TO SEE. So be TRULY GLAD. There is WONDERFUL JOY AHEAD, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while.” 1 Peter 1:5-6
“For creation WAITS IN EAGER EXPECTATION for the children of God to be revealed.” -Romans 8:19
Even Creation – all of God’s goodness here on Earth waits with bated breath for an eternal greater goodness. His GLORY, peace and reign.
As I consider the ways God pursues me with goodness; good gifts and even the GOODNESS of waiting in expectation for something marvelous… I wonder if the sweet anticipation leads to an exhale and within the exhale there is relief, comfort, and favor. The exhale from my anticipation tells me I have arrived at the place I am witnessing God’s faithfulness.
My Dear Sister,
My challenge to you is: Be IN THE anticipation of goodness. Sit in it. Enjoy it. Move through it. Cry out vulnerably to the Lord as Esther, Ruth and Hannah. Not knowing the outcome, but knowing your LORD AND SAVIOR.
Be IN the anticipation and savor the exhale, for He is good and wants goodness for His children.
You are not alone.