WHEN THE PAST AND THE PRESENT SEEM THE SAME
God chose you as the first fruits for salvation, through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth, to which he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thess. 2: 13-14
I saw a quote earlier. “Your past is not God’s future for you.” Many would argue that. They say that so much of what they have suffered continues to visit them over and over again. They continue to get sick. They continue to sustain disappointments. They continue to get fooled by people. They continue to face losses. They continue to work with challenging financial parameters. They experience life as a cruel cycle and the abundant life seems nothing but a dangling carrot.
This fallen world will continue to be fallen until Jesus comes or I die and step into His presence. My ultimate future will look nothing like my past or my present. Praise God! But until then, my circumstances here will continue to be challenging, if not cyclical. Life will continue to present set after set of problem solving exercises, but in the midst of that reality, the kingdom is also here now with respect to my internal world.
- My spirit is already seated with Christ in heavenly places. (In my past, it was not.)
- In God’s eyes, I have been declared righteous. In the past, this was not the case. I was a condemned woman.
- My soul has been ransomed from the snares of sin and death and is being sanctified. (In my past, it was not.)
- My past is not my future. My past is not even my present.
So circumstantially, how am I to regard my life when painful things keep repeating themselves? I have to remember that from the outside, things are often the same. But the inside? That is to be in the process of continual radical change. Here’s an example. When my mother died, I was thirty years old. I did not have a strong connection to God. I had no idea how to draw close to Him to weather the trauma of losing a mother. I floundered, grew depressed and inconsolable, and my faith suffered for another decade. Much further down the road, my father died of cancer. My relationship with God was alive. Scripture had driven my root system deeper into the person of Jesus. I knew how to live in hope, draw strength from my Savior, and put scripture into practice. Everything was different even though cancer had once again re-appeared in my life in the death of a parent. Same circumstances. Different internal world.
My past is not my future. My internal world can resemble eternity with Jesus. Right now. In Christ, God has made it possible for my soul to live in paradise.
You walk with me and talk with me. You tell me I am your own. That changes today entirely no matter how ongoing my affliction. Amen
Originally published Friday, 14 September 2018.