Some people pine for the past, longing for the good old days when they were younger. Back in those good old days, there were plenty of people reminiscing about the good old days of their youth. William Blake longed to be back in the good old days before the Industrial Revolution cranked up its gears. On one level it is to be expected that we think about the past; it is good to see the providences and blessings of God over the years.
Other people live for the future. They prepare for that long-awaited day of retirement, carefully saving and investing money for when they can relax and enjoy themselves having plenty of time and capital. Of course, it is necessary to plan on many levels – for exams, responsibilities, holidays, celebrations, old age etc. Life would be a mess without forethought. We need to especially plan for eternity. The scriptures remind us that this world is not our home (in its present state) and we need to invest ourselves into that future city whose builder and maker is God. Key to faithful Christian living is hope – hope is to trust God for a better future.
In a very real sense, people who live thinking about the past, and those who live thinking about the future risk succumbing to the same problem. They can fail to appreciate and make use of the present. Looking back has its benefits and looking ahead is wise, however, we need to be careful that neither perspective robs us of the time we actually have – the time right now. Yesterday has slipped through our fingers and tomorrow is beyond our grasp. The time at hand is the only time you can do anything with.
Learn to enjoy the blessings of the moment. Appreciate the ordinary things that come to you and are going on around you – the beauty and wonder of creation, the provision of daily needs, family and friends, health, faith, the scriptures, the church. If you are unable to find contentment and joy with what you have, you are chasing an elusive ideal. Why will tomorrow bring what today kept back? Within the time allotted to you today, God has provided what you need to be fulfilled.
Learn not to fret over the past because you can’t change the past. What is done is done. Learn not to worry about the future because you don’t know what the future has in store. Why worry about something that hasn’t happened, that may not happen and it if it does happen you can’t change it. The future is in God’s hands. He has blessed you with today. Today you can draw close to Him in prayer, today He offers you wisdom and strength and assurance, today you can repent, today you can read scripture, today you can do good to someone, today you can speak about the wonderful truth of the Lord.
Every new morning is God’s gift. Take each one by the horns, revel in it, this morning may be the last time you see the sun rise in this life. Every day brings with it responsibilities and opportunities. There is enough for us to do in the present without being weighed down thinking about what has been, what might have been, or what could come to pass.
Be thankful to God for the past, hope in God for the future, live earnestly and intentionally for God in the present.