Saturday, March 30, 2013
What's next? That's the thought; sometimes the words we speak as we move about our daily routine and monotony. Why do we ask what tomorrow brings? Why do we try to predict where we'll be in the next week, or month, or year? Human nature, I suppose. Yucky - human nature. We need the nature of Christ, not that of the flesh. Me thinks...the only "next" we should be pondering is eternity. Yes?
But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
2 Peter: 8-9
We want tomorrow to come so quickly that we forget about the good things that God has for us today! We can make so much more out of each moment of each day if we just stop to think about the eternal impact each moment can make. That was a mouthful. Think about it, though. If I am still and intentionally stand in the presence of God each day I will receive the best of what He has for me, and the best is Him. His heart. His desires. His will. In the end, and the end will come, that which truly matters is what Jesus did for us. Do we overlook the love displayed on the cross and the blood spilled for our sins? Or do we kneel at the cross and gaze at our Savior; spending time with Him so we can know who He is... and what He has for us?
In those daily moments I imagine the thought of tomorrow, or next week, or next year can become fleeting, and the anticipation and joy of eternity with this King I've been spending time with... it makes me see time as a precious gift to use within the will of God - to get to know Him better, and to serve Him and our loved ones with the gospel. Each and every day becomes like one thousand years of loving, serving, learning, praying, worshiping, teaching. Being with and being like Jesus for just today is the same as one thousand years in the eyes of God. And what is one thousand years to Him? In terms of "earthly time" it's a blink of His eye. Here today. Gone tomorrow. That's why we can't take for granted what is here today, because it will be gone tomorrow. Yet, one thousand years in the sand of God's hourglass was purchased for each of us by His Son on the cross.
Before He was arrested, Jesus told His disciples that He would have to leave them and that where He was going they couldn't follow; not yet. Then He willingly suffered the most heinous, excruciating torture and as He yielded His spirit to His Father He said, "It is finished." Done. Finito. The end. We don't have to worry about what comes next. NEXT includes whatever God has for us. It might be a successful, prosperous life with few challenges, but maybe not. Maybe what comes next is illness, poverty, hunger, death. If we are in Christ and He is in us, each day is still a gift. We can show one thousand years worth of love to those around us, and tell at least one more person about Jesus each day.
I thought I might have at least hugged and kissed my African sons by this Easter, but we haven't made it there yet. Some days it feels like we'll be waiting one thousand years before we get a court date! :-) That is our "next" and it will happen, and I'm pretty sure it won't take one thousand years. In the meantime, I'm living for Christ each day trying to love and serve my family, appreciating and praying for each friend, hoping for someone to share the gospel with, and finding myself on my face in repentance knowing I was the reason - the culprit - that nailed Jesus to a cross. This Easter I thank God again for His redemption and for the gift of eternity in heaven; my ultimate NEXT. I'm amazed at how patient and longsuffering He is with me!
For a day in your courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
the Lord bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does he withhold
from those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts,
blessed is the one who trusts in you!