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Look Forward to the Future by Amanda Schrieber

On August 8, 2019, I woke up in the middle of the night with words that felt like they were being whispered into my ear, “Look forward to the future.” I didn’t pay much heed to them and went back to sleep. A second time that night I woke again with the same words impressed onto my spirit, “Look forward to the future.” I ignored this again and fell back into my slumber. Come sunrise, I awoke a third time with the exact same words echoing into my heart, “Look forward to the future.” This time around, I perked up, quickly grabbed a pen and paper, and scribbled them down.

With coffee and my Bible beside me, I began to write in my prayer journal and ask God to tell me what these words meant. My prayer journal from that August morning reads, “Look forward to the future.  What does this mean? What are you trying to tell me? Holy Spirit, I invite you in; fill me today. You are the Spirit of Truth that leads me into all truth. It is you, Holy Spirit, who inspires and convicts and counsels and guides. Reveal to me the deeper truths of these words and what you are trying to tell me.”

I wondered if these words were just a reminder for me to keep an eternal perspective. I asked him if this was only regarding heaven and setting my mind on things above. I asked if this was an encouragement for me to keep my eyes on the prize. I asked him to show me if this was prophecy for what lies ahead…for our church or for my personal faith. And I asked the Holy Spirit to reveal to me the mysteries unknown. To speak to me. To untangle and unravel my thoughts regarding these words.

In the following pages, I began to pray about things on my heart and things I petitioned him for. Revival. For the filling and moving of the Holy Spirit like we’ve never seen before. As I wrote these prayers flowing from my heart, a verse popped into my head and I saw a picture in my mind’s eye of a huge forest filled with trees. There were thick trees in every direction, and you couldn’t see through it. But there was a narrow passage through the trees that eventually led to a big expanse of dry vacant land- almost like a desert. Beyond the vast desert was abundant, flowing waters. The expanse of water stretched further and wider than the desert land, showing me that they were greater. In my prayer journal I drew a picture of what I saw and wrote, “His pathway always leads to abundant flowing waters.”

The verse the Lord brought to mind during that time of prayer, was Isaiah 43:19:

“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun. Do you not see it? I will make a pathway in the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”

I grabbed my Bible to look more closely at this verse and that’s when the verse leading up to it jumped off the page. Isaiah 43:18 states, “But forget all that- It is NOTHING compared to what I am GOING to do.” I truly felt like the Holy Spirit was whispering hope to my heart that he was moving already (“see, I have already begun.”) and he was going to do something amazing that we have never seen him do before (“it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.”). He indeed untangled and unraveled my thoughts and filled me with great hope for the future that very moment. I began to pray for the Lord to revive us again and for him to create rivers in the dry wastelands of our hearts. Since then, I cling to those words in moments of discouragement and find great hope and comfort in them.  

Which leads me to this time in history. We are quarantined in our homes in the middle of a world pandemic. As I referenced in a previous devotional, quarantine comes from the Italian word “quaranta,” which means 40. Biblical scholars have researched and studied the significance of this number found in scripture. It often is connected to a period of great testing and tribulation. But those times of testing and tribulation were also followed by something significant. Something new. Greater change. This suggests that the LORD has divine purpose behind trials and uses them to prepare us for the “newness” or change that lies ahead.  

I chose to share my August dream with you because I believe that when God gives us a message of hope we aren’t meant to hoard it for ourselves. He intends for us to share it with others. We are called to tell of his good deeds and to spur one another on (Psalm 105:1, Hebrews 10:24). Sometimes, we borrow and ride on the coattails of others’ faith to carry and inspire us. Now is a time we can all use more hope.  

As I reflect on these things and what’s going on in the world today, I can’t help but ponder- with hope, belief, expectation, and confidence- that our God is behind the scenes right now working in the spirit realm, doing something new that we have never seen him do before. That he is using this pandemic as a way to turn hearts back to him. To revive us. To awaken humanity and create rivers in the dry wastelands of barren hearts. To add souls to his kingdom. He longs that no one perish (2 Peter 3:9). He leaves the 99 to search for the one lost (Matthew 18:12). He can do this through a whisper, and he can do this through a pandemic.  

Awakening and revival are upon us right now. We know that he loves us, and nothing can separate us from his love (1 John 3:1, Romans 8:38). He is with us (Matthew 28:20). He fights for us (Exodus 14:14). We know that what the devil intends for harm, God intends for good (Genesis 50:20). We know that he works all things together for our good, for those who love him and are called according to his purposes (Romans 8:28). So, with our eyes fixed on things above and on every promise he has for us in the Bible, we indeed, can and should be a people who LOOK FORWARD TO THE FUTURE.

Father God,

You are the Almighty One. There is none like you and none beside you. We exalt your holy name.  Awaken our hearts to your truth, your presence, and your glory. Reveal to us your mysteries and what you are doing and how you are working. Show us a glimpse of your greater plan and how we individually play a role in this pandemic. You have work for us to do and you have given us a great opportunity to be a light and to speak your truth into the darkness. Now is the time for us to rise up. Show us how we can partner with you and be used by you to awaken hearts and point others to your Son, our LORD and Savior, Jesus Christ. You are in this with us, and we do not want to miss a thing you have for us. Fill us with your wisdom and courage. Flood our hearts with hope in you as we look forward to our future. Lead us on to be your people, a light that draws others to you and points the way to Christ.  In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Prayer: Ask the Lord to awaken your heart and reveal himself to you in greater ways. Ask him to show you what good works he personally planned in advance for you to do at just this time.

Action Step: Act on the opportunities God gives you to help and love others, to speak truth and life into those around you. Keep your eyes, ears and hearts open to his leading.

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