We become fearful about what is coming next in life when we are not sure about the values that brought us to our present moment. Eternity, however it might be considered, occurs one day at a time. The great issues of past, present and future have already been taken care of so it is left to us to live well in relation to those events. Those espousing the methods of the Bible should have a greater awareness of time and what the present moment might have to offer in the way of opportunity. Hudson Taylor said, “If your father, mother, sister and brother, even if your dog and cat are not better off for you’re being a Christian, it is questionable that you are.”
A Golden Thread (Psalm 73)
Asaph worked as a recorder/scribe in the days of Hezekiah. He wrote at least 12 of the Psalms.
The 73rd Psalm covers the panorama of past, present and future. Asaph notes what he saw (v. 3), how he understood the present (vv. 16-17) and what he could see regarding future possibilities (v. 24). Asaph asserted that it is was the Presence of God that helps us understand and align what has, is and will take place. His Presence tempers our hearts and minds through all circumstances.
Past Trouble (Isaiah 36)
The troubling events that are present in everyone’s past are a matter of perspective. The events do not change, but our view and understanding of them do. When past trauma is seen as a type of tuition we institute the opportunity to turn disappointment into prime learning venues. This enables us to rise above failures and receive a new commission to do better the next time. The Bible is a book that allows us to closely view what happened in the lives of other people, how it relates to the present and what can be derived from the distress of others without having to go through it ourselves. Commitment to a well based belief system, such as that offered by the Bible, provides relief from what has happened and a better hope for what will happen next.
Tomorrow’s Promise (I Thessalonians 4:17)
The Bible is symmetrical, meaning that it links and balances the past, present and future, so that what will happen next is clearer. How we do in the present moment is insurance regarding what will happen in the next moment. If this is so, then the future is far less uncertain and we have far more to say about it than we may have previously thought. The Bible offers itself as a plan for healthy, happy living, but it never supersedes individual volition about what is and what will be.
Today’s Improvement (Philippians 1:23)
As those that follow Christ we can long to be with God, but never at the expense of today. Christ knew His time in this world had meaning and it was part of His joy; doing the Father’s will. Life must always be lived in the light of a greater measure to be gained from the present moment (Phil. 1:21). Even in perilous times we should see the possibility of the moment because we are working for a benefit that reaches beyond ourselves. Life is what we make it, but a large part of its success is whether we have come to enjoy the journey as much as anticipate reaching a desirable destination.
Daniel’s words about time (Daniel 2:20-23) are themselves timeless. As long as we remain teachable and open to the possibilities of the present, the road ahead will be clear. Daniel’s interpretation of an unstated dream stands as one of the great miracles of the Bible. However, Daniel’s prayer of thanks is the pinnacle of the setting. His words tell us that with whatever may have happened yesterday or will happen tomorrow, it is all decided on the view we take today. Perspective about yesterday, a plan for today and possibilities for tomorrow is a good formula for changing our attitude about time and thus changing our entire life.
This column is the opinion of Dr. M. Hildon Guy, President of the University of Christian Studies and Seminary in Eagle River (www.universityofcss.org).