Wrestling With Time: Don’t Look Back, Don’t Worry About Tomorrow. Live for Today With The Abiding Presence


March is here. Spring is in the air and we’ve already had a taste of it. I’m not ready. I still want to hibernate. I didn’t lose any weight yet. I didn’t finish purging clutter. Wait, wait, wait!

I’m not ready.

But it’s here.

I spent much of January sulking about the past. After-holiday blues hit hard. My cousin Prudence and I talked about Christmas past, when gifts were opened slowly, one at a time, each moment treasured as everyone absorbed the joy of the recipient. We reminisced about a different kind of Christmas, a different world, another time. Remember when, remember when. Remember when one gift a piece was precious. It was enough. Now our grandchildren attack a tower of presents under the tree, flinging wrapping paper, viciously anticipating the next toy.

Prudy and I both had our youngest children, daughters, move away last year. We miss them.

All of my children are geographically far from me. I wish we could all be together again, at least during holidays. I hate that we were split apart by divorce, before they finished becoming adults. I envy other couples my age that have been married 30, 35, 40 plus years. Because that’s what it was supposed to be for me. I envy the shared history and memories, comfort level, children in common, that those couples have: fruits of a long faithful marriage.

Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance. – Psalm 42:5

On January 29, I was prompted to read Spurgeon’s Morning Devotion which starts:

In our Christian pilgrimage it is well, for the most part, to be looking forward. Forward lies the crown, and onward is the goal. [emphases mine]

I was jolted back into the present. Yes, we must look forward. He says, for the most part, I think because we should never forget what God did for us, how He saved us from our past. We should remember how he plucked us out of places we shouldn’t have been in. I think Spurgeon says this also because it’s okay to treasure certain things in our hearts, like memories with our children and all the blessings in our lives past.

Life is but a vapor…

In February, my 58-year-old cousin Frank died unexpectedly. At his visitation, fifty-eight years flashed before me onscreen. There was a picture of Frank being baptized in the little Brooklyn church where I was also baptized. Those were the days, growing up in that little church. I plummeted further, lamenting over the utter brevity of life. My morning devotions brought me to Ecclesiastes 7:10 where the Lord, through Solomon berated me:

Do not say,
“Why were the former days better than these?”
For you do not inquire wisely concerning this. – Eccl. 7:10

The Lord, through Matthew Henry, scolded me further:

the supposition is a foolish reflection upon the providence of God in the government of the world.” Note, (1.) It is folly to complain of the badness of our own times when we have more reason to complain of the badness of our own hearts (if men’s hearts were better, the times would mend) and when we have more reason to be thankful that they are not worse, but that even in the worst of times we enjoy many mercies, which help to make them not only tolerable, but comfortable. (2.) It is folly to cry up the goodness of former times, so as to derogate from the mercy of God to us in our own times; as if former ages had not the same things to complain of that we have, or if perhaps, in some respects, they had not, yet as if God had been unjust and unkind to us in casting our lot in an iron age, compared with the golden ages that went before us; this arises from nothing but fretfulness and discontent, and an aptness to pick quarrels with God himself. [emphases mine]

How sobering!

Whatever state I am in to be content…

The good old days. They are always reinterpreted through revisionist eyes. Eyes that are so dissatisfied with the here and now, the past looks more attractive. This is discontentment. Paul learned whatever state I am in to be content. Am I? As a divorced, reformed and remarried woman, am I?

It’s a dangerous thing to whine over afflictions designed by God for our good. It’s a dangerous thing to look back, as Lot’s wife did.

The good old days were not really that good.

The Lord showed great mercy and lovingkindness toward me. He sent a new husband my way. He makes all things new, indeed.

Live in the Present with the Abiding Presence

I am reading The Abiding Presence by Hugh Martin, which I highly recommend. I love how he expounds on the timelessness of the Gospel.

… a Saviour the same yesterday, today and for ever, who in his marvelous biography is living with us still by his Spirit. The element of time is got rid of, and cast out. Jesus is with us.

The element of time has no influence at all on the efficacy of the sacrifice. As to past time, he may be called ‘the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.’ And to the end of time, he is ‘the Lamb as it had been slain.’

Past time, end of time. I long for the element of time to be rid of!

Yes, March is here. The month that identifies with the Lion and the Lamb. Stormy or calm, blustery or blissful, I am going forward and looking forward to this day:

“…Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.”

And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. -Revelation 5:5,6

Let time go by. The element of time is got rid of! Let the seasons change. My Lion and my Lamb are eternal, and change not. The element of time will vanish when the wrath of the Lion burns up the earth in righteous judgement and the love of the Lamb collects his children to be with him forever and ever.

Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

Photo credit: http://www.stolinsky.com/wordpress/index.php/tag/lion-and-lamb/