Second-place pumpkin at the 2013 Kansas State Fair, Hutchinson, KS

What would become of us if we didn’t believe?

As crazy and difficult as life can be, I find there’s always something to look forward to. Maybe that’s because I’m an eternal optimist. Maybe that’s because I’m pretty good at living in denial. Or maybe it’s because there really is a lot to be excited about in our lives. There’s a good chance that none of us are exactly where we want to be right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t look at aspects of your life, expecting something good to happen.

This is a horrible, shallow example, but I’m going to use it anyway: pumpkin-flavored everything. It’s something I expect around this time of year, and it’s something I look forward to as well. It’s a tradition to go to Starbucks on my birthday and get a Pumpkin Spice Latte and a Pumpkin Muffin or Pumpkin Scone. I’ve already gone because I just couldn’t wait any longer, and I plan to go again when October 15 rolls around. Fall is my favorite time of year, and I love all the spices and smells that come along with it. It’s something I expect.

And, let’s face it, life is a lot more fun to tackle if you have something you expect and look forward to.

Second-place pumpkin at the 2013 Kansas State Fair, Hutchinson, KS

Second-place pumpkin at the 2013 Kansas State Fair, Hutchinson, KS

Today’s verses are Psalm 27:13-14.

Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

Going back to my horrible Starbucks example, I probably should have waited until my birthday to go get my traditional coffee and pastry, but I’d been waiting for ages. And, fortunately for me, jumping the gun and buying a latte and scone early won’t diminish the yumminess of it when I go for my birthday. Now, my blood sugar will probably not thank me, but, hey–it’s autumn!

But that’s not the case for other things in life that we are expecting. Part of living life with expectation is waiting. I mean, you can’t expect something without having to wait for it. It doesn’t happen. Because if you expect it, that means it hasn’t happened yet. I love verse 14 especially because it pretty much says this without saying it. This is how it’s phrased in the Amplified Version:

Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord.

Isn’t that great? Wait and hope for and expect the Lord. And we don’t just get it once; we see it twice. So it’s something we need to remember. But what I really want to draw attention to is verse 13. Check it out in the Amplified Version:

[What, what would have become of me] had I not believed that I would see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living!

That little parenthetical statement doesn’t show up in the New Living Translation. Or it’s translated as “Yet I am confident.” And I don’t know enough Hebrew/Aramaic to weigh in on that (I know none, actually). But that little statement changes the way I read this verse. What would have become of me if I hadn’t believed?

Think you can make it through life without expectation? Think you can tackle the trouble that’s coming without looking forward to something? I don’t see that happening. I know it won’t happen for me because I need to know that what I’m doing has a purpose and that where I’m heading is better than right now.

God didn’t design us to forge ahead through life without hope, without being able to look forward to something. Everybody needs hope. Everybody needs something good to expect. None of us are strong enough to make it otherwise, and if you’ve convinced yourself that you can get through life without expecting God to show up, I really encourage you to read the Bible and see all the promises that God has made us. It’s not like He’s dangling a carrot in front of a horse when He tells us what’s coming; it’s not incentivizing a Christ-like life. It’s to give us hope. It’s to help us realize (and remember) that we have something coming that’s better than what we have now.

What would have become of me if I hadn’t believed? I would have given up long ago. But I believe. And I expect. And I wait and hope, and because of who God is, I am confident that I’ll see Him work before He calls me home.

Ask yourself the same question and think carefully about your response. It might change your perspective on a lot of things. Granted, I’d rather not have to wait, but God makes it worth it.