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Monday, August 13, 2012

What's Next Papa - Romans 8 Part 4

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.

 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!  

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.

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 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?


  1. Love that "What's next, Papa?"! My kids call my hubby "Papa," so I hear it in their voices, and it makes it even better.

    Several times at church lately we've talked about how eternal life doesn't start at death--it starts at salvation. So we shouldn't be JUST waiting, plodding through, but living a full, complete, JOYFUL life.

    1. So true. I think that when the Bible talks about the kingdom or God or the kingdom of heaven, it is often referring to the kingdom life of believers here on earth. And when it says we won't enter the kingdom because of sin, I have to believe it's referring to those kingdom promises on earth, because we know the shed blood of Christ paid the full price for our eternal salvation.