Did you ever experience a moment when God confirms a message He’s communicating, or a thought He wants you to consider, by having it show up in multiple places? For me, it usually happens in 3’s. For example, a message at church, a scripture you read and a phone call from a friend. It’s just downright uncanny. Well – No – It’s God.
This rich phenomenon happened to me this past week. The message was simple but oh so profound. I heard it as sure as you’re reading this sentence. Be ok with today. Live in this present moment and watch what happens to your joy, your life, your influence, and your relationships. Be present.
First occurrence. I was reminded of a book that I’ve read several times – The Present, by Spencer Johnson, who also wrote another one of my favorites – Who Moved My Cheese? – and the soon to be released sequel – Out of the Maze.
The Present is a story of a young man’s journey to adulthood, and his tireless search for The Present, a mysterious and elusive gift he first hears about from a wise old man. This Present, according to the old man, is the most valuable gift a person can receive. Why? Because it is the one thing that doesn’t change in changing times.
As the young boy becomes a man, he grows disillusioned with his work and his life. So, he returns to ask the old man to help him find The Present. The old man responds, “Only you have the power to find The Present for yourself.” Heeding the old man’s advice, the young man embarks on a worldwide search for this magical gift that remains unchanging in a changing world and holds the secret to personal happiness and lifelong success.
It is only after the young man has searched high and low and all but given up his relentless pursuit that he discovers The Present—and all of the promises it offers.
Do you get it? Living in the present is exactly what we’re called to do. Not so easy though.
The second occurrence came up in a discussion at the “mission” where my wife works, and I volunteer. In a discussion with one of the guests, a saying I use often popped into my head. Modifying a Fulton Oursler quote regarding the “two thieves”, my version goes like this: Our joy in the present is stolen by two thieves. The regrets of the past and anxiety over the future. Every time we dwell on past mistakes it steals our joy. When we look ahead at the future with anxiety and fear, it steals our joy. The joy that we can only experience in the present. How much of the joy in our lives, if we’re truly honest, is stolen from us while dwelling on the past or picturing the future?
Our present moment is all we have. Imagine yourself free from all worry, concern or care. Not a single one. Is it even possible? I say yes. There are moments in our lives, in complete surrender to Jesus Christ, that we can experience the unfettered joy that comes with “abiding” in Him. Even momentarily. In, fact, he instructs us in this way.
The Message says it so well paraphrasing Matthew 6:34. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.
How much do we miss when we’re not present with God – right now? I saw the most beautiful sunset the other day. I mean, it was amazing. The clouds were arranged in a perfectly melodious pattern as if they were composed for a night with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. The light rays careening off the edges like a small vessel bouncing off the waves at sea. Who painted that picture, if not God? Being present in that moment is what yielded, what we call around here, a God kiss. A simple example of God touching my life and my heart and experiencing the joy in a moment that may have been lost forever if my focus would have been elsewhere.
Thirdly (my trifecta of confirmation), while engaged in a program sponsored by Healing Care Ministries and Terry Wardle entitle Rooted, God “spoke” to my heart through His Word. The weeks topic was Awakening to the Image of God. In my quiet time and after reading a very enlightening scripture, God showed me how critical it is for us to accept “truth”. Not necessarily what feels true at the moment, but absolute truth. Who He says that I am (child of God) and what He’s doing in my life. At present, my circumstances seem less than ideal, but the truth is that God has been working to teach me to be ok with today. THE PRESENT! Not letting the joy that He has for me be stolen.
This is a critical truth friend. We must embrace the present moment, be ok with our current circumstances and get excited about what God will do to show Himself as He truly is – in complete control of our lives. Why fret over the past or cringe over the future, when the present holds so much promise, so much life, and inexplicable joy?
So I say to you – Be ok with today!