A two dimensional life keeps us in a state of unrest – looking back, looking ahead. Regretting and wishing for …
God breaks in to the present. It is alive, moving, happening now, full of vim and vigor, breath, hopes. And more. It is life today. Moments now. As Tolstoy penned: What is the most important moment? The most important moment is now, for you may not have another one like it.
If we could view our physical bodies under a most powerful microscope today, now, we would see amazing movement, sounds, cells reproducing, nothing stagnant – steeped in the past, nothing frozen- waiting for a future day to produce. Because life demands that our cells reproduce constantly, no stopping, no waiting or we would soon be dead.
Our past, good, bad, and in between is just that – past, gone, except for the memories and lessons learned. To use for today.
Our future has yet to be. It can be dreamed about, planned, hoped for but this must have the context of now-today. Our minds, our hearts, our bodies teem with life today. Our future must be grounded in the NOW. What is God doing now-today that affects tomorrow?
Today grounds us. Today gives reason to our past and gives purpose for tomorrow.
So much of our time though is spent in regret or salivating about what the future might bring.
It is two dimensional at best.
And while we “while away” the day today consumed with trying to define our lives from what has been or from what we hope will be, we miss out on LIFE. Living, breathing alive life.
Today I was reading Jacob’s story in Genesis 28. Jacob leaves his family to find a wife and is heading for Padam Aram, to Laban, his uncle’s household to get a wife for himself.
Along the way, he camps for the night, falls asleep and has a dream. A stairway was set on the ground and it reached all the way to the sky; angels of God were going up and going down on it. (Gen.28:11-12)
Then God speaks, gives him the same blessing that Jacob’s father Isaac and his grandfather Abraham were given. Your descendants will be as the dust of the Earth; they’ll stretch from west to east and from north to south. All the families of the Earth will bless themselves in you and your descendants. Yes, I’ll stay with you, I’ll protect you wherever you go, and I’ll bring you back to this very ground. I’ll stick with you until I’ve done everything I promised you. (Gen. 28: 14-15)
Eugene Peterson writes that Jacob was consumed with two things at that point in his life. He was running scared from his twin brother, Esau, who hated him for swindling him out of his birthright and stealing the blessing that was to be his and at the same time he was hopeful, for he was on his way to find a wife.
These two things filled his life. Big things. And there was no room for anything else. Escaping from his past and running straight for his future.
So what about his today, his present day? In his dream God showed him that there was much more to his life than just running from his brother and finding a wife. God told him, Jacob, you are blessed and will be a blessing. I have a purpose for your life, and I’m going to complete it. I am with you and will not give up on you.
This dream suddenly plunged him into what was going on right then.
God had plans that were much grander than anything he had thought about. For Jacob was consumed with only two things, two dimensions to his life. His past and his future.
God broke in to his present and showed him that He was taking each day, Jacob’s “everyday day” and bringing purpose that had future meanings. Leading to a grand future.
So take note. We must live today for today is full of life and leads to the future.
Our past, good, bad or otherwise, brings color to our today. It is past experience when placed under God’s thumb of healing and encouragement that can make our todays more meaningful.
As I see it, I can spend today whining about what isn’t, pining about the good old days, whittling and wasting away the day, dreaming of a ‘better tomorrow’.
Or I can, with God’s grace and His indwelling presence and power, seize today and live it with all my senses at attention to Him who has my past, my present and my future in His hands.
(Words in italics taken from the Message Bible and from Eugene Peterson’s Sermon on Genesis 28.)