“The Future is, of all things, the thing least like eternity. It is the most temporal part of time – for the Past is frozen and no longer flows, and the Present is all lit up with eternal rays.”
– C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
Hello again! It’s been a while since I’ve written anything! Funny thing is, I have four drafts sitting, finished, waiting to be published. They’re kind of old, but I think soon I’ll bust them out. A Throwback Thursday kind of deal. Wouldn’t that be fun?
Don’t worry, I know I’m not cool.
Aaaanyways. Let’s get started.
Recently, in reflecting on where I am spiritually, I realized I lost a lot of the faith of my youth. I talk about that more in one of my posts that I wrote a while back and have yet to publish. Simply, the faith of the child, the fearless willingness to serve that I once had, had started to fade with age. As my life began to come together, I took too much comfort in the plans that were becoming reality and forgot about preparing for the home that was coming. And that search for fulfillment in plans and other earthly things caused me a lot of pain in addition to struggles I was already experiencing in my transition to adulthood.
Believe me, I certainly longed for my true home in this time of struggle. I looked forward to leaving this broken world for heaven and a perfect eternity with my Savior. That promise did bring me joy.
But although I wanted it for the right reasons, I also wanted it for the wrong ones.
I wanted the easy way out. I lost all hope in this life. The good part seemed to be over; I gave up on it getting better and wanted to go to my true home simply because I was tired.
Enough was enough.
Yet somehow, even though I longed to leave it, I clung to the world.
It was a strange irony that I realized when recently reminded of the end times and the persecution that is coming. I became scared. Not because of the pain and suffering that was to come, but because of what I would lose if the persecution were to begin now. Even though I wanted to escape this life, I had selfish, earthly thoughts.
“But my future. My plans. My career. The wedding I’ve dreamed of. The children I want to have. I’ve been looking forward to this for the past few years like never before. I don’t want that gone. Not yet. Let me just make it through those things first.”
Then I realized – in my youth, I had a completely different outlook on this. That younger me, the freer me, saw things in another light.
“Bring it on. I’m excited. I’m ready to lose it all.”
I shook my head. Where had that gone? I had taken a couple steps forward as I grew, certainly. But in other areas, I took several steps back. As more meaningful things in life appeared that I could possibly lose, as my future began to build, I started to depend on that plan instead of the possibility that God’s plan might be different. I was trapped in the bliss of the past and the promise of the future. I held onto my life’s plan instead of staying in the present and being ready to let go at any moment God may choose.
Have you done this? As milestones in your life approach, do you rely on them being there instead of saying, “If it is God’s will, I’ll have the privilege to live and see this day”? James directly addresses this in chapter 4: “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.'”
Each day that passes brings new memories to look back on and new promises for tomorrow. Your life continues to build and unfold to what God intends it to be, if you’re following Him. But He never intended those blessings to be the things you set your heart on. Nor did He intend the struggles to cause a hopelessness in life. They were both made to refine you and bring you closer to Him.
Because the past is over and there may not be a tomorrow. There is a today.
So I’m going stir that passion. I’m going to feed that fire inside by spending time with my King. I’m going to long for and rejoice in the home that is promised to me, and at the same time I’m going to take joy in each moment of the life I’ve been given on this earth. I’ll no longer depend on my future, for that will never be in stone. Nothing satisfies and nothing lasts but God. So I’m going to depend on Him alone for lasting happiness and attribute all joys on earth to Him, for they are from Him.
And I’ll be ready to surrender it all.