Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

August 26, 2007


Anticipation is one of our most precious human emotions


          There are many things in life that most of us take for granted. Take rain for example. We did not think much about it until this summer. Now even the atheists in Alabama are thanking God for a little rain.

          A faucet with running water is more precious to me after spending two weeks in Zambia. Even though Victoria Falls is located in Zambia, there are millions of people there who will live their entire lives without ever having running water in their home.

          In America we have plenty of rest stops available to us when traveling. But during our seven-hour bus ride from Lusaka to Livingstone we passed through several communities where there was no public restroom. After enduring several “close calls,” some of us will never again take public toilets for granted.

          Conveniences we take for granted are luxuries in other parts of the world. Even a brief visit in a third world country makes you keenly aware of that.

In addition to things we take for granted, there are certain aspects of the human spirit that we ought to pause and give thanks for. We are capable of many emotions such as anger, despair, affection, apathy, fear, guilt, pity, hysteria, hate, shame, pleasure, and perhaps the greatest of all, love. Normal people experience all of these and more.

Today I want to give thanks for the wonderful capacity of anticipation. That surely is one of our most precious human emotions.

When we define the word anticipation we must use words like “enthusiastic” or “excitement” to explain what we mean. Anticipation is an emotion that often involves pleasure while expecting some desired event. It is somewhat like hope though hope seems like a more sober emotion. Excitement is another name for pleasured anticipation.

Of course anticipation can also involve anxiety or irritation. We may be worried as we anticipate a coming event or we may be frustrated at having to wait.

Anticipation can cause some people to become happy and excited as they wait for something to happen. Other people can become ill or frightened as they begin to imagine bad things occurring, things that may deny them the joy they are longing for.

To anticipate something wonderful happening, and not have it occur, can be devastating. It can bring on such grievous disappointment that we despair of life itself. But to anticipate a great blessing, and receive it, can result in unspeakable joy.

In these hot, dry August days I am using the emotion of anticipation to add joy and excitement to my life. I am eagerly anticipating the beginning of the football season. I am excited about getting to cheer for my grandsons Jake and Josh as they play for Macon-East Academy. Jake is a tenth grader playing tackle and wearing my old jersey number 79. I can see him picking up a fumble and running it all the way back for a touchdown!

I want my Opelika Bulldogs to become state champions this fall. I see them beating Prattville in Birmingham. And I’ll be on the sidelines!

 I am eager to yell “War Eagle” until I am hoarse and watch the Auburn Tigers become national champions. They did it 50 years ago and it is time for my Tigers to do it again.

I am anticipating a full house at church one Sunday this fall. One of these days before I pass on, my head usher will walk up to the pulpit and tell me with a broad smile, “Preacher, we have standing room only this morning!” It will happen. That day will come.

We have a great choir at our church. I am anticipating that one Sunday they will sing so wonderfully that the congregation will give them a ten-minute standing ovation. And the people in the pews who are not clapping with delirious joy will be shouting “Hallelujah” and dancing in the aisles.

One more thing: I am anticipating that one Sunday soon I will preach so well that there will be a stampede at the altar as people come forward to get right with God. I can already hear someone shouting, “At last, thank God almighty, the preacher is on fire!”

You owe it to yourself to enjoy the emotion of anticipation. Pleasured anticipation is not just for the young, old folks! Take a deep breath and believe that wonderful things are going to happen in your life this fall – and get busy making them happen! + + + +