Baby Maybe – Living With a Sense of Imminence

by Andy Wood on November 7, 2016

in Exploring the Possibilities, Five LV Laws, Insight, Life Currency, LV Cycle, Principle of Eternity, Waiting

Baby Ready

He’s this year’s first round draft choice. The Player to Be Named Later.  If you’re keeping score that’s number nine for us, and the eighth boy in a row.

Yep. It’s Baby Maybe season, and the landing gear is down.  He can be here at any time.

Now the official due date is sometime around the end of the month, but all indications point to a potential early arrival.  So we’ve made ourselves ready to go when the word goes forth.

We’re living with a sense of imminence.  And it’s affecting every part of our lives.

What Imminence Looks Like

We have made adjustments and contingency plans for our work.  That’s a little tricky in this case because “Mama” makes and reschedules appointments for “Grammy,” but they’ve got that figured out (I think!). But I’ve served up notice that I may be going from Mobile to mobile.

We have our finances in order. The bills are paid, the travel budget has been activated, and (of course) gifts for grandbabies are already purchased and loaded into the sleigh truck.

We have “gone mobile” in our extended relationships.  We are communicating to extended family and friends as if at any given moment, Engine Engine Number Nine can be rolling up to the station, and we may not make the meetings or may have to reschedule other things.

We talk more to family members these days.  Now that’s saying a lot because we talk to each other a lot. We’ve been told that’s not normal. Whatever.  But these days, with the excitement of the boy’s arrival, we’ve upped that a notch.

We have changed the way we think of ourselves, ever so slightly.  Already we refer to ourselves as the grandparents of 9, not 8 children. Before we have ever held him or looked into his countenance, he has reshaped our identity.

We have our bags packed.  This past weekend we went to the farm. But we packed for a trip to Texas. We knew there was a possibility of a sudden change of plans, and we were prepared.  We got back home last night, but the big bag is still packed.

We plan appointments and commitments more carefully these days. Like at any other point in our lives, we have people to call, things to do, people to see.  But we are more judicious about the commitments we make, knowing we may have to change those commitments or disappoint some people.

We think differently as well.  Living with a sense of imminence, we filter everything through questions like, “Will I even be here?”

Spiritually speaking, we more aware of the Lord’s presence.  Standing on the cusp of a miracle that never grows old or tired, we recognize this as holy ground in a holy season. So we pray more, even on the fly. We recognize our smallness and limitations more. We are more acutely aware of our need for God on a daily basis, as well as on the threshold of a glorious new beginning.

Above all else, we have our hearts set for joy.  While we wait, it’s in the anticipation of great, great joy. The frustrations or disappointments common to all life fade more quickly. Pain and even grief for recent losses gives way to the delight and celebration to come.

Everything changes in Baby Maybe season.

Another Kind of Imminence

Baby Maybe season reminds me of another sense of imminence – something much more earth-shattering and life-changing.  When the disciples stood on the Mount of Olives, gazing into heaven as Jesus ascended from earth, two companions – “men in white” – stood beside them.

They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).

For two thousand years now, we have lived with that reality.  At first the early Christians embraced that promise with fervor and possibility thinking. As one generation passed to another, however, we began thinking more of the long haul.  But the reality is that we still live in a state of imminence, whether we act like it or not.  This same Jesus, who disappeared quickly into heaven, will return in like manner.

And it could happen at any time.

It could happen before you finish reading this.

Our challenge – to live with relevance to this world but at the same time “have our bags packed” for the next.

Despite our culture’s fascination with all things Apocalypse (sorry, no zombies allowed), wars, and rumors or wars, and despite our apocalyptic predictions of what will happen if [fill in the blank of your favorite political or atmospheric event] occurs, our hope calls us to live with a different kind of imminence.

And I don’t think we do a very good job of that.

If I were to ask you, “Honestly, do you think Jesus Christ will return today,” in all honesty you would probably admit, “I don’t think He will.”  If I were to ask if you think he will return tomorrow, in all all candor you would probably admit he could, but in reality, “I don’t think He will.”  I actually find that encouraging. Ater all, Jesus Himself said to be ready, “For the Son of Man is coming an hour when you do not think He will” (Matthew 24:44).

So what kind of adjustments would you have to make – today – to live with a sense of imminence?  How would your finances change? Your family relationships? How would you approach your decisions, your commitments, your spiritual preparation?

How would you set your heart for joy?

The Village Idiot

Just prior to the turn of the Millennium (remember when that was a thing?), I was invited to join the editor and publisher of our local newspaper and a host of leading local religious leaders for a roundtable discussion.  It was a pretty elite bunch, and the only reason I was there was that my boss couldn’t make it.  We had the local Catholic bishop – something of a beloved local celebrity in his own right. We had a liberal Baptist pastor who was also very well known in the community.  There were several other religious movers and shakers, joining the leading publisher of the day for a thoughtful discussion that would lead to a series of articles.

And there I was in the midst of them. Wondering what I had gotten myself into.

The topic: What current religious leaders thought the prevailing issues were for people of faith as we approached the 21st century.

Several ideas were tossed around. Remember, this was prior to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, yet the issues came out as typically then as they would now:  terrorism, world peace, poverty and the like.

I finally spoke up and asked a question that sucked the oxygen right out of the room. I simply asked, “Could Jesus Christ return?”

It. Was. Awkward.

I found a way to back my way out of it – I mentioned the apocalyptic visions of the Y2K (remember that?) bunch and others who saw this as a way to anticipate His return. But I don’t ever remember a time when I felt more out of place.

Never have I felt more like the village idiot than when I suggested to a group of religious leaders that Jesus Christ could return in the near future.

I’ll leave you to meditate on the significance of that.  For me, it just goes to show what can happen when we lose our sense of imminence.

In the Mean Time

In the meantime – and it is a mean time – we wait. Not as those with no hope, but as those who stand on the threshold of unspeakable joy. We know that new life approaches. A new dawn awaits. It is imminent.

OH… and that baby could be born, too.

After all… it’s imminent.  It is Baby Maybe season.

Martha Orlando November 8, 2016 at 10:57 am

So excited for you all with Baby on the way! I’m sure I’ll see the news on Facebook when the little guy arrives.
Blessings, Andy!
Oh, and I will be sure to pack my Heaven bags, too!
Martha Orlando´s last blog post ..God’s in the Details

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