One of my best childhood memories is of a camping trip to Hopkin’s Prairie in central Florida. For a whole month we lived in a tent with no one else around. We cooked on an open fire, swam in the lake just 30 feet from our tent, fished, and went row boating. I was given a small hatchet and took great pride in chopping up small branches for the fire. I was eleven. Probably I was imagining that I and my trusty hatchet were saving the day by keeping the family warm and fed.
As the time for our camping trip grew closer, so did my anticipation. To this day I can still remember the excitement I felt as I dreamed of all we would do on that camping trip. Not once did I tell myself — we’ll all be eaten up by mosquitoes, snakes may crawl into our camp, an alligator could attack us in the lake, the boat might turn over when we’re far from shore. Were any of those things possible? Yes, caution had to be taken. We sprayed mosquito repellant, wore life jackets in the boat, and our eyes were always watching for any predators or crawling reptiles.
In spite of all that could go wrong, none of that was our focus. Such negativity would have certainly put a damper on the upcoming vacation. Instead, while being careful in our surroundings, we concentrated on all the fun. Such positive focus gave us inner peace and joyful anticipation.
It’s the same in our spiritual world. Our arch enemy, Satan, is always skulking about, seeking to destroy our inner peace and joy. It’s easy, if we focus on negativity, to lose our peace and joyful anticipation. We pray for God’s guidance and then tremble in the “what ifs.” What if I don’t get a job to pay my bills? What if I get sick? What if I’m in an accident? What if I can’t make friends when I move? What if….what if….what if.
Bad things do happen in our physical worlds, but anticipating the bad doesn’t have to be our focus. Instead of wondering about the negative — what if — we may focus instead on the — what we know. God’s Word is full of promises. He promises to never leave us even when bad things happen. He promises to give us His own strength to get us through all the hard times. Best of all, He promises that a life is coming with Him when there will be no more tears, sorrow, death or pain. (Revelation 21:4)
Here’s another verse that gives us immeasurable anticipation: “Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into His glorious presence without a single fault.” (Ephesians 3:20) That’s even better than looking forward to that childhood camping trip that made me so very happy. At that time I couldn’t think of anything better. Now I look forward to something that is literally — out of this world!