We humans, I have found, invest an enormous amount of our time, thoughts, and hopes in the future. We live in anticipation of upcoming events, constantly waiting for something that will settle our hearts and free us to be kind, happy, and content. I am convinced, however, that this way of living is severely wrong. The future cannot redeem us. Today, the Present, this stream of moments constantly passing over us, is the hour for salvation, for the power of grace, for thanks, and for pleasure.
I know from experience that the tendency to keep our thoughts fixed on the future rends countless gifts from our hands. Our hopes and fears revolve around a future event, and we strive with everything we are to achieve or avoid it; meanwhile, we are astonishingly reckless with the people, the gifts, the life around us. We surrender all of now for something we hope to attain later. C. S. Lewis wrote about this truth in his book, The Screwtape Letters. From a devil’s point of view, he wrote, “We want a whole race perpetually in pursuit of the rainbow’s end, never honest, nor kind, nor happy now, but always using as mere fuel wherewith to heap the altar of the future every real gift which is offered them in the Present.”
When our hearts place their hope in an upcoming event, we become wantonly careless with our lives; we become suddenly willing to lay aside holiness, people, all of the gifts we’ve been given, for the pursuit of this object. Faith in the time to come prevents us from embracing the power and the presence of Christ in our life now. The way to live apart from Him is to fool ourselves by promising Him the future; in this way, He occupies only a figment of our imagination, and does not hold sway in our lives or our souls. This blind confidence in the future is a lie that has been subtly told to us all our lives, that has ingrained itself in our minds, and that has stolen happiness, truth, and sight from our hearts.
The wonderful, astounding truth is that rapturous pleasure and the redemptive power of grace does not have to be put off! We have been offered real gifts in the present, whose depth is beyond comprehension.
How, you may ask, can “Today” be considered a “real gift”? This is a valid question, and I freely admit it. In a typical Today, I have turmoil in my soul. My own weakness floods me and I feel slain. Sin and anger rush in and pour out of my soul like the ocean tide. All around me are fellow vessels of turmoil! We are simultaneously stiff with pride and quaking with helplessness under the influence of sin. This painfully realistic picture of today seems to contradict my argument that today is a precious gift. However, it is because our hearts are so broken and bruised that the present is infused with beauty, pleasure, and worth. Jesus Christ’s redemptive power is the most awesome and lovely when it works in the most lowly and wretched souls and circumstances. “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
This wounded world we live in and the crippled souls who occupy it, are nothing other than opportunities for drinking deeply of the love of God. Thus, we carelessly cast aside His precious gift when we indulge our temper, stress, and selfishness because of our faith in and devotion to the Future. The spectacular truth is that Today, with its sin, suffering, and broken beauty, is the day set apart by God for loving deeply and living completely. Every moment of the day is hallowed and lovely because Jesus Himself occupies them. Today is the day to live. 78