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Thursday, July 26, 2012

What's Next, Papa? ~ Romans 8 Part 4


 by Dina Sleiman

 15-17This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It's adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike "What's next, Papa?" God's Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what's coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we're certainly going to go through the good times with him!  18-21That's why I don't think there's any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what's coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens. 

I’m continuing my study of Romans 8, an amazing chapter which has thoroughly impacted my life. Today we get to my very favorite verse—in fact, the verse that started my intense meditation on this passage.

17This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It's adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike "What's next, Papa?"

I just love that! Our life is not a timid, grave-tending life. I wonder how many people picture Christianity that way? Timid. Dead. I wonder even if there’s some implication in this verse that while we must be aware of eternity, we shouldn’t be so eternally focused that we’re no earthly good? Makes sense. Many religious Christians are so busy waiting for “the sweet by and by” that they aren’t enjoying the priceless here and now. We need to enjoy life. Embrace it in all it’s emotions and colors and facets. Dance, play, sing! God is with us here and now, not just after we die. We should be elated by his presence. Celebrate it. Delight in the world he created for us.

Jonny Sleiman rock climbing without equipment
Our lives should be adventurously expectant. I love that too. Lately I’ve noticed that I haven’t been as bold and brave as I used to be. I used to love an adventure. Yes, adventures can be scary, but they are exciting too. No risk, no reward. I have one adrenaline junky child, and he serves as a good reminder to me that risk can be an amazing thing. And yes, odd timing for the post considering the fact that I crashed my bike for the first time in over 25 years last week. Yes, I was going too fast for a beach cruiser on neighborhood roads. Yes, I’m still cut, and bruised, and slightly discombobulated from smacking my face on the concrete. But you know what? I survived. More than that, I discovered that I’m stronger, tougher, and more resilient than I ever would have guessed. And you know what else? Going fast is fun. While our adventures must be tempered with wisdom, overall, they are good things.

And that’s just the word adventurous. What about expectant? Another amazing word. We should have hope—faith. We should dream big dreams. Imagine an awesome future. Don’t live in fear. Don’t waste your time worrying. It’s a pointless emotion anyway. Look forward to the future with expectation.

Greet God with a childlike, “What’s next, Papa?” Maybe I love that most of all. How’s that for simple trust? My daddy has something great planned for me. I don’t know what it is, but I’m not worried. I don’t even care! Because I know my daddy, and I know it will be good. So I run to him and throw myself in his arms. I let him spin me in a wild circle with my feet sailing free in the breeze. I giggle in delight as he tosses me over his head. That’s my papa—my daddy after all.

I know who I am. I’m a child of the king. And no, not everything will be perfect. Not everything will be easy. But I can look forward with expectation, knowing who I belong to. Knowing I have a glorious inheritance waiting for me. I will go through the hard times with Christ, knowing that good times await me.
Meanwhile, my joyful anticipation deepens. Ahh. Thank you Jesus! Next time we’ll talk even more about the joy in the waiting.

Are you trying to control your life, or are you willing to say, “What’s next, Papa?” Are you timid or are you brave? How can you grow to be more adventurously expectant?

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Dina Sleiman writes lyrical stories that dance with light. Most of the time you will find this Virginia Beach resident reading, biking, dancing, or hanging out with her husband and three children, preferably at the oceanfront. Since finishing her Professional Writing MA in 1994, she has enjoyed many opportunities to teach literature, writing, and the arts. She was the Overall Winner in the 2009 Touched by Love contest for unpublished authors. Her debut novel, Dance of the Dandelion with Whitefire Publishing, is now available at amazon and other online and ebook distributors. Her latest novel, Love in Three Quarter Time, will be the launch title for the new Zondervan First imprint. Dina is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Agency. She has recently become an acquisitions editor for WhiteFire as well. Join her as she discovers the unforced rhythms of grace. For more info visit her at http://dinasleiman.com/

6 comments:

  1. I shared this earlier but didn't comment. What a lovely continuation of your study, Dina. I love this chapter. I want to burn this in my brain!

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  2. Hahaha. That's the answer to your question about control. Hey, the whole appeal of writing fiction is that I have Total Power.

    I also find as I get older I'm more resistant to change. I like my comfort, and even when I try something "new" I want it to be on my terms and timing. This seems like a common human trait. Perhaps that's another reason Jesus wants us to come like little children?

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  3. Great post, Dina. I like to think I'm adventurous and brave, but sometimes I freeze at the jumping off point.

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  4. Resistant is the word for me; it's so good to be reminded to "take a risk, take a chance, make a change, and breake away..."--Kelly Clarkson (You got me all carried away.)

    Bless you!

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  5. Oh Dina, dear, your bike crash, my bee stings...
    I started randomly oohing over an anthill while on a walk with my hubby and he told me he thinks I'm reverting to childhood. Maybe that's the point! Living life adventurously and expectantly is how children live!
    Besides, we never know how much time we have... got word today that a friend from high school (42 years old) dropped dead of a heart attack over the weekend. Makes me want to go do something I've been putting off in my attempt to live cautiously.

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  6. Hi All,

    I ended up going on an impromptu shopping trip to Williamsburg with my female relatives and got back barely in time to make dinner.

    I'm glad everyone enjoyed the post. I like the theme about being childlike that is coming out in the comments. I kind of hinted to that in my post, but probably could have done much more with it. These verses are just so rich!

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