Lately I’ve been busy traveling. No, not on airplanes and in cars, but traveling in a time machine. You see, I’m a time traveler! And my ‘time machine’ is fueled by four little words: “If only” and “What if?”
These four little words from the pit of hell can fuel a huge time machine which jerks me into the past, then to the future, and back again into the past, never stopping in the present. It gobbles up my present time voraciously.
In a moment I can be swiftly transported back into the memories of the past where I was so wounded or I really blew it. If only I had chosen to go a different direction, If only I had not made that statement. If only I had been stronger, kinder, wiser.
And just as quickly the words “What if” whisk me into future worries: What if there is not enough money? What if I lose my job? What if my greatest fear comes true. What if the world falls apart and I’m not prepared?
The enemy of our souls constantly uses these four little words to devour our time. They are some of his most strategic weapons to kill, steal and destroy us.
He kills our hope by causing us to look back at our past disappointments and failures. The Bible says ‘Hope deferred makes the heart sick.‘ The ‘if only’s’ keep us bound in fear and disappointment and the ‘what if’s’ cause us to lose all hope of a bright future, lest we dare to dream again.
He steals our peace in the present. Peace comes from a deep knowing that God is still in control even when we cannot see or hear him. Even when we did it wrong, He is bigger than any ‘If only’ mistake I have ever made. His name is Jehovah Tsidkenu, the God who makes every thing right! (Jeremiah). We can rest in the present, assured that this great God who ‘makes everything right’ is already arranging circumstances today so that we need not be concerned about the ‘“what if’s” of tomorrow. Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever.
He destroys our joy which comes from the wonder of the now. Rich Mullins’ daily prayer was, “Lord, don’t let me miss the wonder of THIS day.” The Wonder of the now. He is revealing his wonder to us in astounding ways if we will simply get off the time machine, stop and take a look around. Marion, my friend, reminded me that ‘Now’ occurs 1356 times in the King James Version of the Bible. ‘Salvation’ only occurs 151 times. Mmmm, Is He trying to tell us something? Perhaps he is saying to us just like he did to Moses, “I Am.” “I AM the God of the present. The God of the Now.”
Jesus said, “Look at these exquisite lilies, really see these beautiful birds. Don’t miss the wonder of this day by worrying about your clothes or your provision for tomorrow.” (Ruthie’s paraphrase)
He is the all sufficient God of the now who sees and hears a mama crying in the desert and provides water for her thirsty boy. He is the Almighty God of the now who provides a strong wind to split a mighty sea in half allowing his beloved children to walk on dry ground. He is the kind Savior who said to the lame man by the pool of Bethesda, “Forget about yesterday, take up your bed today and walk!” He is the gentle Redeemer who said to the Samaritan woman, “Stop living in the mistakes of your past, take a drink of this living water now and begin to embrace your glorious destiny.” And He is the Master-Creator who calls dead men out of a graves, feeds 5000 hungry people in a desert and who speaks to my present storm and says, “Peace. Be still.”
As I stop the time traveling and peer into the now, I see His hand at every turn. This gives me the confidence to declare “If he is present in the now of my today, he will surely be just as present in the now of my tomorrow.” He transcends time! He was there, He is here, and He will be tomorrow.
So who is this awesome, magnificent God who created time and who inhabits time in all of His fullness? I can’t answer that question, but I do know this: He is good and He loves me. And that is enough for today.