The present is enough for now

Answered questions tend to end conversations. I keep trying to make timelines in my mind—when will God do this? what led to that event? how will it all unfold in the future?—and nothing ever fits quite right. I'm walking with Christ who has all the answers and refuses to end our conversation, refuses to make me all-knowing and omnipresent.

I think about the past and present and future and how it will all work out ("it" being whatever issue I'm currently concerned about) and the present keeps slipping away.

Life becomes too much past if I'm not careful.


The Past

Every event, every life, is subject to misinterpretation. We evaluate and measure and judge events we didn't see and people we don't know. We see through our eyes only, and history (the second that just passed) bends to our own will if we're not careful.

A friend asked me whether I'd have children again, in this day, with the world falling apart and all. If the world was then as it is now, would I have had children in the first place?

The world was then just as it is now. We could argue whether mankind is really more destitute now than in times past, or whether our information-sponges are simply absorbing more in the mire of media and a world made small by internet. Are we interpreting time and events and people correctly?

I would still have (purely hypothetical) children today. I do still make plans. I am still hopeful and confident that the Lord is not slack concerning His promise.

History shows us two things: we are traitors who bring chaos upon ourselves, and God is merciful. That is our hope.

Maybe God knows what He's doing.

The Future

The future reaches away from even the grasp of our imagination and to try to guess what it would be, will be, might be, is like carrying water to the world by hand. We should stick close to home, close to the present, and we should get a better grasp on the past (He was faithful! He doesn't change!) to take hold of hope for the future.

The Present

This is the only place I can live: in the present, with hope, with truth, and with thankfulness that time is like water in my cupped hands. It runs through, but there is enough for right now.

I generally wake before the sun is up because the morning is my favorite. I have to set an alarm, fumble through darkness, grind beans and pour boiling water; but it's worth it to see the earth turn carefully towards the fire.

We get life from 93 million miles away and that doesn't phase us.

I look for it each morning, waiting to see if it will be brilliant and amazing and picture-worthy. I look for the orange and pink sky (red sky in morning, sailors take warning), for the rays lighting the dew like a miner's light.

I look and forget that the sun is a miracle every morning.

I forget that it doesn't really rise to us but we turn to it; that we are not the center but it is.

I wait for its show, as if I deserved something more spectacular than the consistent, steady love of a God who repeats miracles everyday. If it's not brilliant it doesn't turn me from my tasks. If I don't look right away, it's gone.

Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. ― G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

So in the present, I lose hope and miss miracles because I'm looking for the spectacular.  I miss the layer upon layer, steady and consistent and disciplined work of God in my life, the lives of those I love, and in the world.

I miss the faithful turn to the sun.

Water runs through my hands.

In the present I have questions with far-off answers and I can only see the sun every morning, the moon every night, and understand again the faithful monotony of a God who never tires, who holds the trinity of time and promises that our hope does not disappoint.

"Are there any among the idols of the nations that can cause rain? Or can the heavens give showers? Are You not He, O LORD our God? Therefore we will wait for You, Since You have made all these." Jeremiah 14:22