Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Tomorrows and Yesterdays

When it comes to those moments where God is so near that our breath catches in our throats and our hearts begin to race, it is ironically God's own faithfulness that works against us. One of the reasons it's so easy for us to say Maybe tomorrow is because we know that tomorrow, God will still be here.

That's His promise to us.

God has always promised His people that He never leaves them nor forsakes them. He has always promised that He is the same yesterday and today and forever. We know that this is true. We know that He is always there. Always here. And so we know that if we choose not to take Him up on this moment, there will be another one. And another one. And another one. So we put it off forever, this trusting in the Lord, and that's what makes forever such a difficult reality as well.

It's what makes it so hard, after a lifetime of putting Him off, to take Him up on it at that final chance, as we stand before Him in fullest form and know that we are just one breath away from heaven. By the time we get here, we are so accustomed to having tomorrow that it does not sink in that this time, there is no tomorrow. There's only today, and then forever.

But truthfully, there is really only ever today. Even when we are content to contend for tomorrow, we only really have today. This moment, whatever moment this is, this time in which God is just a breath away...this moment isn't coming again. We might have another moment like it. We might have another chance almost like this one. But this moment, this chance is only now. It's all we've got.

We cannot face today by trusting God tomorrow because if we ever do get around to trusting Him on it, it's already yesterday. It's not today any more. The today that we trust God for yesterday has its own moments, and every time we hold out for tomorrow, we put ourselves one more step behind. We're living into the past, missing every moment until it's long gone, and forsaking the ones that lie ahead. 

But God is the same yesterday and today and forever. Yes. Yes, He is. But yesterday is not today and today is not forever. And so from our human perspective, there is a fundamental difference between this moment's God and that one's. 

There's a fundamental difference between trusting God today when I need a God who is patient and kind, perhaps because today, I am impatient and unkind. Or perhaps because today, I am a bit too harsh with myself. Or perhaps because today, I am feeling small and scared. And I need this God who is tender with me. ...and trusting God tomorrow when I need a God who is fiercely loving, perhaps because tomorrow, I am feeling attacked from all sides and needing a defender. Or perhaps because tomorrow, I am feeling vulnerable and need a God who stands up for me. Or perhaps because tomorrow, I am feeling alone and need a God who stands up with me. If tomorrow, I trust the God that I needed today, I am going to find Him essentially useless. What need have I for a God who is patient and kind and tender when there are very real arrows flying at my heart that are about to strike me down? 

And what about the next day, when I need a God of rest, perhaps because I am weary from this tumultuous few days I seem to be having? If I trust the next day the God that I needed tomorrow, I am going to be offended by a God who is ready to fight once the battle is already over, when I am weary and wounded and needing my rest. He's ready to go to war for me. Tomorrow's God never quite meets us on the right page of the story.

That's not to say, of course, that God is not patient and kind and tender, fiercely loving, and providing of rest today. He is all of those things. But I cannot trust Him with what I don't have. I cannot trust Him with any moment other than this one. And if in this moment, what I have is smallness and scaredness, then that's all I have to trust Him with.

And whether I take this moment or not, whether I embrace this moment or not, another one is coming. 

That's what makes it so hard to take this one. That's what makes it such a challenge to say yes right now. We think we're always going to have another chance. Another moment. Another opportunity. Because God is steadfast; He will always be here. 

But we won't. We won't always be here. And we'll never have this moment again. Not this exact moment.

So the question is this: Will you take today? Will you trust Him right now?

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