Hi everyone, Rob here. In five weeks or so David and I are heading off to the United States for a 17 day adventure that will take us from San Francisco to New York via iconic places like Yosemite National Park, Disneyland, Route 66, the Grand Canyon and the capital, Washington DC. It’s been a long time coming as we’ve dreamt, planned and suffered the odd setback along the way. The difficult part has been to stay present in everyday reality when, what will be the trip of a lifetime for both of us, is looming on the horizon. It becomes all too tempting to be living in the future and inattentive to the present. It’s also a danger to stifle the dreaming about the future as that inhibits prayer and shuts us down to God-given opportunities. What to do?
The first thing is to realise that right now we live in the past, the present and the future and all have a place in our lives. Our hearts need to be attentive to all three. We are shaped by our past, for better or for worse. Our experiences, and more specifically, how we interpret our experiences, become the lens through which we interpret life in the present. Do you see yourself as confident and capable? Or do you feel passive and fearful? Some kind of combination of the two maybe? Are you trusting of God or do you find yourself full of doubt sometimes? Our sense of self, of who we are and what we’re capable of, who we trust and who we don’t have roots in our past. Our families, our schools, our friendships, our Sunday Schools and Youth Groups, our sports teams and so on, all left a mark on us. We live in the present out of what we learnt in the past. This is why God wants to heal our past and redeem it. We desperately need to interpret our past experiences from God’s point of view. When we see the past from God’s point of view we can learn to live in the present as children of God.
We also live in the future. We realise that after today there will be tomorrow, next week, next year. We are told to save for our retirement. The idea of a ‘bucket list’ (all the things you’d like to do before you kick the …) has become popular. How are we going to pay for our kids education, let alone keep up the mortgage payments? How do we ‘get ahead’ in our jobs, financially and otherwise? As a result of what we’ve learned in the past, many of us approach the future full of worry and fear. Others get so caught up in what they are ‘going to do’ with their lives that they haven’t noticed that their present is a disaster zone. Still more ignore the future, saying that they live for the ‘now’, but don’t realise that all actions have future consequences. They’re living for the future no matter what they decide. Just as we need to learn to see the past from God’s point of view, we need to see the future from a divine perspective also. How sure is your hope in God’s glorious future? Is that where your hope lies or are you hanging onto that bucket list or worrying over all the variables that aren’t in your control?
This leaves us with Today. This is the day where we choose to trust God with our past and with our future so that we can be attentive to him right now. I’ve just got back from a walk around the local park. It’s a time when I pay attention to the movements of my heart. Is there worry that’s pressing in? Is there fear? Is there joy or praise or even numbness? These walks have revealed past wounds that have needed more healing, worries about the future that need to be surrendered and this has led to fear that I won’t be enough in the present. I have my walk but what do you do to stay present to God? What is it that helps you get God’s perspective on your past and future; that helps you know that you are enough in him Today? Leave your comment below. We’d love to hear from you.
Make no mistake, I am VERY excited about my upcoming trip, but Today my church, my family and my own heart needs me to be present to the present. I do so from a place of healing and hope, redemption and restoration. My past and my future are in his hands so I give him my Right Now too.