If today was tomorrow yesterday and today will be yesterday tomorrow, the todays can get by quickly! Maybe that is why the Beatles longed for yesterday - “Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away. Now it looks as though they’re here to stay. Oh, I believe in yesterday. Suddenly, I’m not half the man I used to be. There’s a shadow hanging over me. ..” Living in yesterdays indeed can cast a shadow over experiences intended for today.
“God speaks in the language you know best – not through your ears, but through your circumstances.” (My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers). If one is caught up in a yesterday that was not as good as it seems it was, or worrying about a tomorrow that will not be as bad as it appears to be, it is easy to miss what God has to say today.
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” … If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them – James 4:13-15&17. The challenge with all the resources available to man today is staying in step with what the Lord is up to. Many times, man’s best laid plans to do good work can get in the way of how God is working in a given set of circumstances. Jesus did not step in and prevent Martha and Mary from experiencing the loss of their brother Lazarus. That valley of their lives opened Martha’s heart to see Jesus for Who He was. She replied to Jesus, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, Who is to come into the world.” (John 11:27). In a valley of grief for her brother, Martha realized that what she believed was really real. The Father spoke to her through her circumstances. The Lord did not save her from the circumstances but connected with her in the midst of them. The many Jews that had come to comfort and mourn with Mary and Martha did not intend to get in God’s way. They were simply following tradition and their sympathy for the loss of a loved one. Yet Martha, and then Mary individually had to leave that group to engage with Jesus. They had to let go of grieving over yesterday to enter into the joy of today.
Appreciate the yesterdays. Learn from them but do not live in them. Understand there are certainly responsibilities for the tomorrows of life but do not let them distract from opportunities in the now of today. The NOW, as my friend Tyrone Smith eloquently conveys, stands for “No Opportunity Wasted”. If your son wants to have a catch, go have a catch with him. If your daughter is growing up too fast, schedule regular date nights with her. If your marriage is under stress, make time to participate in a weekend away. And if you have a buddy that has withdrawn a bit or is in the hospital, go visit him. Live into the NOW of today.
Prayer guide: Father, thank You for Your Word and for where You have me. I confess my tendency to let yesterdays distract me and tomorrows burden me to the point of missing what You are up to today. Forgive me. I know You are sovereign and I need to respond as Martha did – to really believe that what I believe is really real. That means to live into the NOW of today to the full. I thank You for my yesterdays and look forward to the tomorrows, but grant me clarity to live into the NOW of today and glorify You. That is the dad You call me to be and that is the dad the next generation needs. Amen.
A faithful father lives into the NOW of today to glorify the Father.