Expecting the Best

Unfortunately, what we feared and what we expected – the worst-case scenario for Ukraine – happened with the Russian invasion of Ukraine early Thursday morning. This is devastating, particularly for the people of Ukraine. For specific ways you can pray for the people directly affected by this crisis, please click HERE.

As I prepare for my Sunday morning message from Zechariah 9 (“Renewed and Expectant“), I am reminded of the many expectations we face in this world. With the Russian troops on the Ukrainian border and because of what we know about Russia and their evil president, we were expecting what happened yesterday to happen. I am not aware of anyone who was surprised. Our fearful expectations were fulfilled. May the Lord be gracious and merciful to those negatively impacted by this devastating conflict!

To be clear, though, the Lord God Almighty is still in control. While brokenness like this is difficult to comprehend and explain, the truth of God’s Word is still the truth. God is sovereign over all, and justice will be done. As Zechariah 9 and so many other passages of Scripture make clear, judgment for sin is coming. We can and should expect just and righteous judgment.

Unfortunately for every single one of us, though, we deserve that judgment. Publicly exposed acts of evil are not the only sins that justify judgment; all sin is deserving of judgment. And, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Not only do those who wrongly invade a country commit acts of evil; those who wrongly rebel against the Word of God in any way commit acts of evil. We are all guilty.

Now, this is certainly not to diminish the heinous evil on display in Eastern Europe right now, but rather to remind us that none of us deserves to expect anything good from God. Praise Him, though, that He made a way for us to not only expect better but to expect the Best! When we turn to Jesus for the forgiveness of sins and eternal life, we are “Renewed and Expectant” – renewed by Him and expectant of His promised faithfulness. We are renewed in our relationship with God, and we are expectant of Jesus’ Second Coming – when He will restore all things to Himself.

Yes, there will be judgment – eternal judgment that we all deserve. Only those who are not renewed in the Lord, however, will receive such judgment. Those who are renewed in the Lord will receive restoration and life. On Sunday morning, Lord willing, I hope to clearly communicate this hope-filled truth by sharing two certainties we can all expect because of God’s faithfulness.

Is your faith in the promises of God growing? Expect the Best by trusting in Him today.

If you are unable to live with assurance and expect the Best because of what (and Who) is to come, please check out The Story and turn to the Lord today.


Breathing exercises with Grandpa Robbie.
Breathing exercises with Grandpa Robbie.

I confess that I am very overwhelmed right now. My dad, Rob, is home from the hospital but is now on hospice. Thus, we’ve been told he doesn’t have much time left. This past Friday and Saturday, we went up to spend time with my family and had more moments with my dad that we will always cherish. Although my dad is bed-bound and unable to even walk right now, the kids enjoyed hanging out with him and even joining him for some breathing exercises. Marsha and I also enjoyed the time, even though we are saddened and overwhelmed by his condition. Of course, we do believe God can do all things and can certainly heal my dad and take away the cancer. We pray for that, while trusting God’s perfect plan and perfect timing.

Thankfully, we rejoice and have hope because of my dad’s faith in Jesus Christ. While we obviously grieve because of his suffering and will grieve if the Lord chooses to take him home, we also rejoice in what’s to come. We know his grief will be no more and his suffering will come to an end. For this our “hearts rejoice in God” (Psalm 33:21). Will you please pray for my dad and mom, JoAnn? Pray for my dad’s healing. Pray for my mom’s strength and endurance. Most importantly, pray for their faith and hope in Christ.

Not only are we overwhelmed by what my mom and dad are enduring right now, we are also overwhelmed by the horrific suffering around the world. I hope you are aware of what is happening in Iraq and that you are praying for those who are greatly suffering, as well as for those who are doing the persecuting. Please pray for relief, for growing faith and unity of the believers, for endurance and perseverance, and for boldness in the gospel. May God use this devastation for the glory of His name! Here is a specific way in which you can pray.