Last week, I encouraged you to read “The Walk” series by Richard Paul Evans. I have now made it to my fifth and final book in the series. It has been a long time since a book or a series of books has so captured my attention. In Book four, “A Step of Faith,” the main character, Alan Christoffersen, writes in his diary, “Some so fear the future that they suffocate the present. It’s like committing suicide to avoid being murdered.” It is my observation that Covid 19 is having such an effect on many people.
I have been aware for years that some people live so much for the future that they can’t enjoy the present. Now, people are so fearing the future that they are missing the opportunity to live today. The truth of the matter, that we all know but sometimes find hard to accept, is that all we have is the present moment. The past is past, it is history. We cannot change the past although many are certainly trying to erase history by tearing down statues that have stood for centuries. Others are trying to discard factual history and rewrite it to their own satisfaction. Rather than learning from our past, there seems to be a feverish effort now to erase it. We can no more erase the facts of history than a leopard can change its spots.
And when it comes to the future, we must not be so focused on it that we fail to make the most of the present moment. Missionaries sometimes struggle with that problem. The usual term of service on the mission field is three or four years and then there is a furlough which allows missionaries to return to the United States for a year or less to share their stories with churches and reunited with family and friends. It is not out of the ordinary for missionaries, especially in their second or third year on the field to begin planning and dreaming for the furlough year in the US. It has been observed on the mission field that such focus on the future can diminish the enthusiasm for the present work at hand. You don’t have to be a missionary on the mission field to be affected by thoughts of the future. Alan Christofferson is right. An obsession or fear of what is to come can paralyze or suffocate the present. If you are afraid of what the future holds you can easily be lulled into doing nothing in the present.
Someone has observed that you are not prepared to fully live unless you are prepared to die. Unless you are up-to-date in your relationship with God, unless you have the peace and security that if you were to die today, you will be in eternity in the place that God has prepared for you, your fear of the future and what will happen to you at death can easily rob you of effective service in the present.
Through some dark days in his life, Ira Stanphill, a gifted musician was inspired to write the song “I Know Who Holds Tomorrow”. The second stanza says,
I don’t worry o’er the future, For I know what Jesus said
And today I’ll walk beside Him, For He knows what lies ahead
Settle the question of your eternity and you are free to fully live your life today. The message of the Bible is to seize the moment. Make the most of the present. Find ways to serve God daily. Look for opportunities to make a difference in someone’s life. Rather than focus on what the future holds, put the future in God’s hands because He holds the future. Do what you can do today to please, serve and honor Him.
Two Scriptures come to mind: “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7 and Psalm 37 which has a special message for times like these. “Trust in the Lord and do good,” “Take delight in the Lord.” “Commit your way to the Lord.” “Be still before the Lord.”
In His Love, Charles