I will turn 16, get a car, and then I’ll be free. A few more weeks of high school, and then I will move out on my own. I will graduate from college, and then I will get a good paying job and live the good life. I will work as I hard as I can, and then I’ll be promoted to that job I’ve always dreamed of. I’ll get married, and then I will feel complete. I’ll have children, and then I will know joy. I’ll retire, and then I can finally have some peace.
And what of Christmas? It’s the most beautiful time of the year. And yet…..I will hurry to finish the decorating, and then I can finally sit long enough to watch a Christmas movie with my children. I’m going to get the shopping and wrapping done early, and then I’ll be able to relax and drink some hot chocolate with the kids.
And then. Have you noticed how so much of our life seems to happen after the “and then”. Happiness, joy, peace, contentment, success, hope, faith—all of these seem to be some elusive prize to be won only after you’ve completed enough of life to get to the next “and then”. The older I get the more obvious this truth becomes. The older I get the more I realize that it is a lie. We seem to think that if we can just get around this next corner, life will be meaningful. If we can just make it to this particular place along the journey, to a particular milestone(s) then all will be well. Life will begin after the “and then”. But it’s simply not true. There is always another mountain to climb, or valley to stumble through. Joy and peace are not just around the bend. They are not out there waiting for us to arrive, dangling just out of reach.
What if there is another way to live. Rather than “and then,” what if we live “but now”. But now. The sink is full, but now I am going to sit down with my children and watch this Christmas movie. The laundry is piled high, but now I am going to pile in the car and head out to look at Christmas lights. All of the Christmas decorations are not yet displayed, but now I am going to sit under this tree with my family and read some books.
I don’t yet have the job of my dreams, but now I am going to work to the glory of God. My bank account may not be where I want it, but now I am going to trust Him to supply my needs. My future may be uncertain, but now, right now….is the only moment any of us are guaranteed. So right now, let us choose joy. Right now let us choose life.
God does not meet us in the past, but in the now. God is not waiting for us in the future, but in the now. So why do we spend so much of our time dwelling in the past or awaiting some moment in the future? Where God is, joy is. Where God is, peace is. Where God is, contentment is. The present, the now—this is where God is.
Outside of God, nothing is certain. But now, I will choose to live in this moment, and then I will rest in His Peace.