PRAISE-TALK FOR THE FUTURE
And he [Jacob] blessed Joseph and said, “The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this day, the angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the boys; and in them let my name be carried on, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.” Genesis 48:15-16
In retrospect, I can see how God provided and blessed. In the present, I fear that He will continue to do so. Words of faith are choked out. That’s unfortunate because remembrance is meant to feed my faith. When things looked impossible, God did come through. When I tried to quit life, God brought new manna to breathe hope into the crevices of my soul. Why do I not think He will continue to provide? Either I have a short memory or present circumstances paint such a dire picture that I fear even God could affect any change.
Jacob embraces his two newly adopted grandsons. Half-Egyptian grandsons, I might add. He remembers God’s promised covenant over his family. He remembers that God was faithful to preserve their lives when it looked like their line would be extinct. He praises God for the past but his language quickly changes to thank God for what He will do to bless his descendants. Faith is future.
Several decades ago, I was lamenting to a mentor that a certain portion of my life looked like it would fail. I had plenty of evidence to prove it. She listened to it all. Her reply was this, “Live joyfully confident!” When I questioned her further, she replied again, “Live joyfully confident!” I understood that she wasn’t going to spoon-feed me the meaning. I was to prayerfully explore it until I made the meaning my own. Obviously, I haven’t forgotten it and the phrase has been beyond special to me. It describes what faith is. When all things point to failure – I live joyfully confident that God creates options where I see none. When people I love are disinterested in the God I cherish – I live joyfully confident that God is a wooing God and has not forgotten to call them to Himself.
What ‘joyfully confident’ statement of faith do I need to make today about some area of my life that invites despair? I smell death but know that God is a Resurrector. I will say so, outloud, and ask for the grace to live in joyful anticipation.
You will. You promised. I’m learning to dance before the party. Amen