Monday, March 28, 2011

Eager Expectation

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for Him.” Is. 64:4 (shared on weekly encouragement email from our agency).

In pursuit of an opportunity to share the journey of our adoption with interested family and friends, to document important milestones so that we can reflect on them later and share them with our child, and in the mean time, a space to try to unwind the crazy musings of my mind by writing rather than by rambling to my husband (the latter is more than supportive of this endeavor!) I am stepping into the blogging world.

Our current adoption happenings can pretty much be summed up in one word. WAITING. I could conclude now, but I would hate to end my first post so abruptly, and you know I always have more than just one word to share. As so much of my life currently seems defined by waiting, God has been offering me object lessons in what it is to wait in hope. I have become a rapt observer of the seasons, particularly spring. This season is filled to the brim with imagery of the gospel message. The new birth, the resurrection, the restoration, the awakening, the eager expectation! While many creations of spring are wonderful displays of these metaphors, my favorite this year is the trees. One privilege we have in our climate is the opportunity to observe the splendid array of deciduous trees.

They spend nearly half of the year without leaves, their bare, gnarled limbs completely void of color or apparent beauty. But in March, there is an awakening, a sense of expectation that begins to fill the air, and even the trees show evidence of this anticipation. (At this point you are welcome to call me a tree-hugger. It wouldn’t be the first time. However, I am not an extremist. I simply love to observe nature, and also love to exercise my literary right of personification.)

All winter they have stood, branches stretched to the heavens, swayed by the wind, exposed to all the harshness of the elements. This winter, the trees around us withstood a brutal storm. As they were being assailed by heavy rain, the temperatures dropped, covering nearly every exposed piece of bark with over an inch of ice. And then the winds came. And they were broken. Their devastation could be heard as cracks rang out in the still night air, results of branches being torn from trunks, and for some, the end of their life as their entire being hurtled to earth.

Yet in the days to follow they lifted their scarred, tattered branches to the sky, continuing to do the only thing they can do. Glorify their Creator. And wait with eager expectation. It is as if they know that no matter how painful the winter, how long the dreary days of March seem to stretch, that their Creator is perfectly faithful and on time.

And He will once again array them in the magnificent beauty of spring foliage. Yet even as they are again clothed with the splendid greenery, their scars only seem to remind them of an even greater future glory, when they will be restored to their original created state. Void of any implacable insects. Free from destructive disease. Healed of all grievous wounds. But until that great day they fill each moment, every day and night, whether winter or spring, in sunshine or rain, testifying of the greatness of their Creator. So you see, My Creator is teaching me a few things about what it means to wait with eager expectation.

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. Romans 8:19-27