Save your fork. Those words hold promise and expectation of a wonderful desert.  As good as dinner in my family always was, that command indicated that the meal wasn’t finished; there was a special treat yet to come. It may have been a special recipe ingredient or just that it was their love gift, but my grandma’s strawberry shortcake and my dad’s banana pudding never disappointed and haven’t been duplicated.  When I was told to “save my fork”, I knew the best part of dinner was yet to come.

Sometimes anticipation of an exciting event or the completion of a goal can bring us joy or sustain us as we focus on the good yet to come, rather than the mundane or tedium of the present.  Months of planning for a wedding or a birth, preparing for a vacation or a party help us focus on what will delight us, rather than what stresses us or bores us. 

Too often I fear that we as Christians get so caught up in the tedium and the mundane of this world that we miss the joy of anticipating what God has planned for us. This world is hard and sin robs us of joy and blessing. We do what we have to do or what we feel like we’re supposed to do and end up drained and disappointed. But God has given us his word and his promise.  What we know now is temporary.  What he’s planned for us in this life and in our eternity is awesome.  When the Prodigal Son came home from the pig pen in the far country, his father celebrated with a party.  Paul knew before he left this earth that everything here paled in comparison to the glory yet to come. God has bigger plans for you right now, in this life and in the life to come, than you can ask or imagine.

 It’s difficult to anticipate that joy and blessing when you focus on the size of your problems.  David focused on God, rather than Goliath, and found victory over the enemy of his people.  Peter focused on God, rather than the power of the Sanhedrin, and found victory over those who sought to silence him.  Jesus focused on God, rather than Satan, and loved those who cursed him and found the strength to sacrifice himself to save those who could not save themselves.  He did it to allow us the opportunity to anticipate what God wants for us.  The life we know here on earth is temporary and full of trouble.  He has prepared a place for us that is beyond our ability to ask or imagine. He wrote about it in his word so that we could know about it and focus on him and what is to come, rather than the pain and drudgery of what we can see now.

I’ve always loved the story about the lady who insisted on being buried with a fork in her hand as a final testimony to her trust in God that the best was yet to come.  She faced life and death with the understanding that this life was just the precursor of incredible plans God had for her. The group Mercy Me released an awesome song written about the moment when they would finally see the face of Jesus.  Join them in imagining:

 

Will I dance for you Jesus, or in awe of you be still?

Will I stand in your presence, or to my knees will I fall?

Will I sing Hallelujah; Will I be able to speak at all?

I can only imagine; I can only imagine.

 

Imagine the moment when your savior and bridegroom greets you face to face.  Let each of us, as precious children of the heavenly Father, live our lives with the anticipation of the utter delight and love God has promised, both now and forever more.