Joyful Anticipation- Merry Monday By Parris Bailey
“Rev. 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”
This past Sunday in service Frank got up to share a vision he had during worship. In this vision, He had seen heaven getting ready for its soon return. He saw horses and our coming king acting as if the end was eminent. As he was sharing, I saw horses panting and an army being made ready. Frank described a huge barrier holding them back, they were longing for release. I begin to feel joyful anticipation. Frank then asked the question, “what are you doing to prepare for this joyful anticipation”? The sanctuary became a still quiet hush….
I began to reflect back on my life as I thought about this joyful union of the bride meeting with her bridegroom.
Like most people, I am just an ordinary person. If you saw me in a crowd I guess I would just blend in. Someone once remarked “how totally American I look”? Growing up, I had no artistic talent so to speak, or gifted singing voice and I never was an athlete. When I look back at my achievements before I was saved, there isn’t much to talk about.
But then 1973 came, I was sixteen and I had already hit bottom. In August of that year my life drastically changed. I met the Lord, married Frank and left Slidell for good, enrolled in bible school in California. This became my new life.
For the next four years we were either going to bible school, living in tents, tree-planting in Oregon, or church planting in Phoenix, Arizona. This was my life.
In 1978, in a quick turn of events, we found ourselves heading for New Orleans to take over the fledging little church there just for a few years till we would go onto the mission field. Our hearts were full of adventure and faith. This was my life.
A few years turned into decades. We planted ourselves into the city of New Orleans with the scripture- “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city!” We built churches; started schools and our personal family grew at the same time. We had four children, each one of them we named biblical names and marked them for God. This was our life.
From the years 79-92 I guess you could say we grew into one of the mega churches in the area. Good years, fast years, we traveled all over the world sharing on church growth. For years we did 6 o’clock morning prayer at the church. I found fulfillment raising our children and working in our women’s ministry. When we moved to our Airline Drive location and the economic conditions changed in the city we started reaching out to the poor in our desperation. This was our life.
Since 1994 we have been graced with revival. God came down and met us when we had grown tired and dull. It wasn’t uncommon to have nightly meetings, daily meetings, classes canceled at our school because of worship, worship cd’s were made and a production called Beyond the Grave gave us huge altar calls filled with young people. Excuse my repetition, this was our life.
What is our life? What was all the fuss about? Why, of course, it is the joyful anticipation of meeting that One that loved me, that gave Himself for me. It never was suppose to be about my marriage, our kids, or the school that we built or the churches we created, the missionaries we supported or the congregation we pastored. All those are but shadows, as Jonathan Edwards so eloquently put it but He is the sun. He is our life and we lay our life down so that we might have His. No, I was meant for another world. I wasn’t made to be in this one. Like I said, I never really fit in to this world. Someone bought me with a price, ransomed me to live in another world. He gave me a new life, and despite it’s hardships, it gives me a cause worth living and fighting for. This is my life!
How about you? What are you living for? Earth is groaning and all of creation groans with it, longing to meet our Bridegroom in the sky. Love not this life and you too will see Him face to face!