This week a friend of mine sent a devotional that spoke of the anticipatory love of God toward us.  That is, he looks down the road and sees what we are going to need and then actively puts those things in place to meet those needs.  It is an amazing concept and one that keeps coming back to me each morning as I reflect on the events of the previous day and look toward the future.

I guess some would call it provision, but to me it is more than that. He pulls people and events in to partner with Him in such an artful, creative, magnificent way. So many times we merely look at the tapestry from the underside, seeing all the strings and disorder.  But on those days, those marvelous days, when we have a glimpse of the beautiful tapestry that He is weaving of our lives we find it amazing and breathtaking.  All of those colorful, random strings of people and events come together to form a masterpiece.  His masterpiece. You. Me.

If you look at the definition of anticipation, there is always excitement involved. How incredible is it that God works with excited anticipation of the things ahead for us, putting people and plans together so it will come together at just the right moment.  Here’s the thing. If I am hungry, God could provide a loaf of bread. I would eat it and no longer be hungry. Done. Provision given. Hunger removed. Sometimes that’s what he does. But my experience has been that more often than that He uses His people to move in and out of each other’s lives to meet needs – providing bread, providing comfort, providing laughter and beauty along the way.  He carefully orchestrates each step. But here’s the amazing part – He begins that plan way before the event happens, putting the players in place and filling them with His power and anointing.

I have an image of a great artist bending over his canvas putting swaths of color here and there – working in what appears to be randomness until finally, at one awesome moment, the colors come together and form the thing of beauty that he imagined it to be. Friends, how awesome it is that he allows us to be a part of his palate! A life yielded to him absolutely becomes a thing of beauty in his hands.

I have several friends that are walking through difficult days right now. While the circumstances and events of their lives are challenging – illness, job loss, depression – what is amazing to me is the way God is using these people in the midst of their pain to accomplish his work. One of these friends is facing a cancer battle. This sweet friend absolutely walked me through my first two years of widowhood after losing Keith. She prayed for me and held me up when I couldn’t take another step. Now, I have been given the precious task of gently walking with her on this cancer road.  And here’s the amazing thing: she and I became friends 35 years ago when we were both college students. That is amazing to me that even 35 years ago God was looking at us and saying, “These gals are gonna need each other in a few years. I need to be sure they find each other now.” That’s the anticipatory love of God.

Here’s the thing. In order for God to use us in his great works of art, we must be walking hand in hand with him. That’s when he can whisper the gentle instructions to us about the direction he wants us to go.  Too often our focus turns inward – our needs, our wants, what we think we are entitled to – and we turn away from the Father and close our ears to his words.  He still accomplishes his tasks, but is forced to use others to complete what he had hoped we would do. May is never be that God comes to me with an opportunity for service or sacrifice and I say, “Yeah…not today. I think that’s going to be too hard.” I want to always be a part of his creative, redemptive work! What a privilege!

I love Isaiah 43:19 – “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”  Usually in this verse we focus on the new thing that God is doing.  But I think also of significance is the question, “Do you not perceive it?” So many days we plow through our lives and completely miss the great work that God is doing around us. Open your eyes, my friends! Join him in this masterpiece!

Blessings, my friends!