Living in the present is like anything else…it gets easier with practice. It is living in the “I am”, not the “I will be” or the “I was”. This is communion with the Great I Am. He is, at all times, present. He is living in every moment. He is active in the here and now. He is active in the time before. He is active in what will come. But we are limited. We are finite. We cannot “be here” by living in the past or in the future…only by living in the present.
For me, it is sometimes a challenge to “Be Here”. It requires me to submit to God’s plan for me at this moment. Living in the past or the future prevents me from following Him, today. In Hebrews, Paul cautions the reader:
Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
on the day of testing in the wilderness,
where your fathers put me to the test
and saw my works for forty years.
Therefore I was provoked with that generation,
and said, ‘˜They always go astray in their heart;
they have not known my ways.’
As I swore in my wrath,
‘˜They shall not enter my rest.’” (Hebrews 3:7-11).
The Israelites were always wishing for the past. They yearned for what they’d had in Egypt, where they’d been harshly treated as slaves! They despised obedience toward a faithful, powerful, and loving God. They felt that the humiliation of slavery was preferable to trusting in the LORD. They did not find rest in Him. Can you relate to these stubborn people? They were disappointed in the LORD because He did not lead them in the way they thought was best – so they refused to follow Him, even when they stood at the edge of the Promised Land.
Then all the congregation raised a loud cry, and the people wept that night. And all the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?” And they said to one another, “Let us choose a leader and go back to Egypt.” (Numbers 14:1-4).
Looking ahead is not better. For me it can be a way of trying to escape hard things. God is the One who gives us “a future and a hope” (Jer 29:11), but we are not to place our hope in the future. Our hope must be in Him Who Holds the future in His Hands. God expects us to follow Him, not look past Him.
- Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established (Prov 16:3).
- The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps (16:9).
- The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm (Prov 19:23).
- Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls (Matt 11:29).
And so I am finding that I cannot be at peace unless I lay down my memories and my expectations in order to “Be Here”. And Being Here, means doing whatever thing He places before me, to the best of my abilities. You can’t look back and find peace. And living for the future disregards His plans for us today. Today is the gift we have been given, that is why they call it The Present. 😉
God’s people in the wilderness – not a pretty picture. Next time, I will share a blogger friend’s humorous take on Leviticus 26, God’s offer of Blessings and Curses to His stubborn people. You will love it!
Britta…I am justAgirl…just like you