You Are Here Part 2
As humans, we are within time. Our freedom and power in all its glory cannot lengthen the day beyond twenty four hours. We are slaves to the turning of the calendar; handcuffed to the bridle of a runaway stallion racing across setting suns and greying beards.
There is but two aspects of time in which God commands us to concentrate our concern: the Present and Eternity. Scripture constantly encourages – nay, rather, demands – believers to attend to these two things.
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” 2 Corinthians 4:18
“Be very careful then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, for the days are evil” Ephesians 5:15
On the other hand, scripture warns against the devil’s schemes to distract our energies from the Present and Eternity to focus instead of the Past and Future. Observe:
“Say not, ‘Why were the former days better than these?’ For it is not in wisdom that you ask this.” Ecclesiastes 7:10
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not see it? I will make a pathway in the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19
“Now listen you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” James 4:13-14
So why the emphasis on Now and Eternity? Why does the devil scheme tirelessly to fixate our minds upon the Past and Future? The answer is simple: in both we are utterly useless.
The Past, I would argue, is the lesser of two evils being that it is determinate. It is stagnant and frozen and no longer flows with possibility or prospect. Nevertheless, scripture says that it is not wise to look upon the Past too fondly for discipleship loses all effectiveness if one is looking at “the way things were”, as opposed to the way they are currently.
On the other hand, the Future is dangerous in that it sparks both dreams and dread. The Future’s mysterious nature draws our prying fingers to the unmovable veil, and causes us to wonder, anticipate, and expect. As we do so however, we slip briskly away from Now.
The result is terrifying yet familiar. We become blinking, stone-faced subway-riders. We shift our eyes in discourse; we do not remember what colour the walls are in our office. We are not here, we are 6 months hence, or five minutes. We who are both capable and commissioned are Now empty, useless, shells-of-a-being floating from moment to moment. It is truly the devil’s delight to see us this way, for he does not have to worry about us being of any use to God.
Yet alas, the devil trembles when Eternity and Present are on the forefront of our minds. As believers, to dwell upon thoughts of Eternity is to dwell upon thoughts of the God and in doing so we naturally acquire aspects of His character. If not dwelling on Eternity, we must consider the Present for only in the Present do we dwell in actuality and power.
Now is the moment He has granted us. He has given it to us so that we may see the needs of our community now, the opportunities before us now, the crosses we must bear now, the grace He offers now. The Present is, as CS Lewis so eloquently puts it, is “the point at which time touches eternity” and is “all lit up with eternal rays”. Consider for a moment just how beautiful that is! This Now, this very moment you are experiencing is reticulated so closely with Eternity that whatever you do or think (or don’t) will bleed into Eternity.
“’At the acceptable time I listened to you, and on the day of salvation I helped you.’ Behold, now is ‘the acceptable time,’ behold, now is ‘the day of salvation’” 2 Corinthians 6:2