It was freezing the other day: 13 degrees, if you count wind chill---and I count wind chill. But dogs gotta go and I've gotta walk (even though the dog is a phantom limb these days). At the start the cold had the upper hand against my multi-layering offensive. I heard the voices of mothers of all ages: "Keep moving and you'll warm up."
One doubts these words: All the senses argue against it; logic itself seems to laugh it to scorn. Pity the child who lived before 1628 when William Harvey discovered that our blood actually circulates through the body, and the Canadian hockey player who discovered that vigorous exercise will get that liquid moving faster and that will warm you (I may be wrong about the latter part of the history).
Into the second mile, I take note of a fascinating phenomenon: I feel quite toasty. The wind is still gusting, the black ice in the gutters still confirms The Weather Channel's verdict, but I am at peace. Naturally (or supernaturally) I bridge to spiritual things. I think of ancient words that make promises about the suffering of this life: Keep moving and you'll be fine. There will be grace. It's important to keep moving, keep trusting, keep believing.
Now it is a fact that everybody keeps moving anyway---except those who choose to end it all. But very few of us move in real hope and expectation. Speaking for myself, in the past I have never expected much in the way of improvement of my lot---no increase, no joy, no transformation, just a grin-and-bear-it salvation that conceives of all the blessings of Christ's atonement and resurrection to be delivered in one large deposit upon his return.
Paul the Apostle didn't think that way. He walked with "eager expectation and hope" (Philippians 1:20). He expected improvement, in this lifetime and not just in the by and by (2 Thessalonians 1:3). He expected his prayers to be answered more often than not (2 Corinthians 1:11; Philippians 1:19). He expected deliverances on a regular basis (2 Corinthians 1:10), and victory every place he set his foot (2 Corinthians 2:14). He ranked "hope" on a plane with "love" and "faith" as necessary Christian accoutrements (1 Corinthians 13:13).
I have been a Christian without hope and expectation, and now I am a Christian with hope and expectation. You can get back home either way. But the second way is better.
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