The Best is Yet Ahead – Looking to the Future with Eager Anticipation

Hillary Grigel

iBelieve Contributing Writer
Published: Apr 21, 2022
The Best is Yet Ahead – Looking to the Future with Eager Anticipation

The infinite nature of God stumps our finite minds. And this is the lens through which we filter our lives and our faith. No wonder we struggle to believe the best is yet ahead!

Browsing in a store at Christmastime last year, a phrase on a tumbler caught my eye – The Best is Yet Ahead. Immediately, a smile came over my face as fond memories flooded my mind of a sweet couple I befriended at church in college.   

Fifty years my senior, this couple quickly took me into their lives and declared me a part of their family. They generously poured into my life their time, treasures, wisdom, and encouragement for not just my college years, but the last remaining decades of their lives.   

Even after they moved two states away to be closer to family, as they aged, both my literal mailbox and my email inbox were constantly graced by their words of wisdom and encouragement, each note ending with -The Best is Yet ahead.  This may sound cliché or trivial, except my friends truly lived, believed, and embodied this phrase. 

When she passed before he did, his letters began to include some of the most beautiful and heartfelt descriptions of his bride in heaven, enjoying the presence of Jesus, and his longing to join her there. This may sound odd to some, but it was in character for him. This was not something new. For years whenever they spoke of the future, their eyes lit up, and their eager expectation and anticipation of glory to come was palpable. 

As Christians, they clung to the promise of the hope of heaven. The perfection. All things new. No more tears. No more suffering. No more pain. No more disease. No more sin. And most of all: seeing Jesus face-to-face. 

Yet, meeting people who truly live this way seems to be the exception, not the norm, amongst Christians. Even with the hope of heaven and the promise: 

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him” 

1 Corinthians 2:9 ESV  

we fail to live as though the best is yet ahead. Why can’t we truly trust God at his promises and believe the best is yet ahead?   

I think the answer is twofold: nostalgia and scarcity. We cling to the familiar. It is far easier to gaze back at our past rather than looking ahead to the unforeseen future, trusting God has good things in store for us as he promises in Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." 

Nostalgia

The future to us is uncertain, unknown, and unpredictable.   

The past, however, is familiar and set. There is a certain amount of comfort that comes from predictable familiarity. Couple this with our tendency to overly romanticize the past, focusing on only the positive aspects, and filtering out the negative.  

How often have we heard people reminisce over the glory days of old? 

When I was a child… 

It just isn’t like it used to be… 

Back in my day… 

They just don’t make them like they used to… 

You should have seen me when… 

Why do we naturally look to the past with nostalgia assuming the best is behind us and not ahead?   

The sad truth is we can never return to our past. We will never be the younger version of ourselves again. Logically we know this, but mentally and emotionally we don’t. We long for our old body with its health and effortless physique. We long for the glory of the good old days. Our perceived glory days. Innocence lost. What we used to have, but failed to appreciate at the time.   

Our past shapes and molds us into who we are becoming, but getting stuck looking in the past prevents us from moving forward. We can’t walk forward while we are looking backwards without tripping or running into something. Just as Lot’s family was discouraged to look back, we are too.   

Lot’s wife could not resist the temptation and was turned into a pillar of salt. Obviously, we won’t turn into a pillar of salt when we are stuck gazing longingly at our past, but figuratively we get a similar result.  Getting trapped in the mindset of nostalgia prevents us from truly embracing our present and looking with eager anticipation to the future.  We simply cannot appreciate the gifts of today and tomorrow when we are stuck reliving yesterday.   

Scarcity

Our other tendency is scarcity. We buy into the lie everything is finite. Everything has a quota. We live in a finite world.   

Everything has a set beginning and end. We are born. We live. We die. There are 60 seconds in a minute. 60 minutes in an hour. 24 hours in a day. 7 days a week. 365 days a year. We get the idea. We are used to a finite, regimented world of limitations.   

And we take this mentality into every aspect of our lives. We assume everything is limited: success, money, friends, love, likes, faith, service, and impact. So, if anyone else is getting more of what we want there couldn’t possibly be enough left for us. We strive to get what we can, assuming everything is finite, yet we serve an infinite God. 

 With God, there are no limits. His goodness. His love. His time. His blessing. His attention. His favor. You name it. He exists outside of our finite world.   

The infinite nature of God stumps our finite minds. And this is the lens through which we filter our lives and our faith. No wonder we struggle to believe the best is yet ahead! 

My friends were such a striking contrast to nostalgia and scarcity, and I treasure the glimpse they gave me of what it means to live with faith and trust in God eagerly, anticipating the best truly is ahead. Having both moved onto glory, I am no longer graced by their words of encouragement. But God graciously gives me little reminders, like the tumbler, that bring them to mind and encourage me to emulate them and their faith. To pause, catch myself in the trap of nostalgia and scarcity, reminding me of God’s infinite nature, and The Best is Yet Ahead.   

A Prayer to Live Believing the Best is Yet Ahead:

Heavenly Father, give us the faith and conviction to look to the future with eager anticipation. Help us no longer conform to the tendencies of this world. Make us a stark contrast to the nostalgia and scarcity of those around us. May we embody your joy as we embrace the future and hope we have in you, knowing you promise all things are working together for our good. Remind us of your infinite nature when we feel the scarcity of the world around us. With you, there is always abundance. When we catch ourselves longingly looking to our past, remind us - The Best is Yet Ahead! 

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Westend61

Hillary Grigel is a licensed architect, writer, speaker and blogger who proclaims hope and encourages women to live confidently and embrace freedom.  She is a survivor of sexual assault and breast cancer.  Hillary feels passionately that we are not defined by past hurts or struggles, but by our identity in Christ. There is nothing God cannot redeem. God answers prayers. God is still in the business of doing miracles. Hillary lives in Vail, Arizona with her husband, three children and dog.

You can find more from Hillary at her blog hillarygrigel.com, on Instagram @hillarygrigel or Facebook @hgrigel.

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