You know, expiration dates are best guesses - especially on dairy products. Also my doctor told me that epi pens are good for months after their expiration date. Which reminds me... I think my epi pen expired a couple months ago...
I'm definitely a fan of not eating expired food in general (there are always particular exceptions), but Maggie made a comment to me when she said goodbye to me this week about expiration dates on God's promises. She was talking about a promise God kept to her through last semester but that she had assumed ran out at the end of term. It was almost a throwaway comment, but the concept stuck with me because I think I'm quick to put an expiration date on God's promises which is absolutely ridiculous. I've been reading Hebrews 10:35-39 and Habakkuk 2:1-4 over and over again to remind myself that God follows through. There's a great Maverick City song called "Promises" that has a line I've written in the margin of my Bible to remind me, "let my heart learn when you speak a word it will come to pass."
Yesterday I got to catch up with Shannon for a bit, and we were talking about God doing great works in me through a long, weird process. I'm grateful for every step of the way that has shown me more of God's goodness, and as I wrote about on my traumaversary post, I'm still asking God for more and expectant of miracles. I was grading my semester one finals today, and one of the questions students had to respond to was interpreting the passage of John 5 where Jesus heals a paralyzed man who had been disabled for 38. In his response to how this applies to Christians today, one student said we should be expectant and patient for God to work - this is the same student who asked to pray for me a couple months ago and taught me a profound lesson through his intentional choice of words to expect and respect God's mighty love and power.
On a slightly different note, I came across Kesha's song Prayer last night while I was google searching for images of pangolins (man, the internet is weird). So, Kesha's not my fave in general, but kudos to her for writing a song about forgiveness and hoping for positive change in the life of someone who hurt her. In the chorus she sings, "I hope you're somewhere prayin', prayin' / I hope your soul is changin', changin' / I hope you find your peace / Falling on your knees, prayin." As I was watching the weird music video for the song, I was thinking about all the people who've hurt me through my life and how I often do pray their souls are changing. I finished book ten on praying this week, and as I've been learning to persevere in this prayer journey, I've grown more convicted of the truth that just as my story isn't over, the stories of those who hurt me are not over either. There's no expiration date on their opportunity to repent.
There is, however, an expiration date on certain avenues of our life stories. Shannon and I were talking about that yesterday as well. For example, when I shared before about how I ignored God's prompting in my life and took three days to repent - Shannon reflected how that three day period was shorter than previous points in my life when I was further from Jesus. I very much know I'll make mistakes in the future, but I anticipate I'll be much quicker to repent and get right with God. I've already seen opportunities in my life where I was more willing to be obedient with hard things.
One of the biggest blessings in my conversation with Shannon was pointing out that God's grace doesn't expire when I am disobedient or reluctant to do what God asks. Instead, God shows me incredible patience and perseveres in restoring relationship with me. I'm incredibly grateful that God's love for me has no expiration date.