The fast forward button
My dear friend, with her kind eyes, asks, “Are you doing okay?” She asks in a way that tells me she really wants an honest answer.
And an honest answer I gave her. Without a second thought I bemoaned, “I just wish I had a fast forward button. I know the next couple of months are going to be really challenging and I’d love to fast forward through them and get to what’s on the other side.”
Fast forward. It’s my modus operandi. I’m not proud. It’s just the truth. I’m always wondering or worrying about what’s next.
Matthew 6:25-27, 33-34
That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
Sometimes I wonder with excitement and great anticipation for what I assume is around the corner. I anticipate big moments like a vacation or another baby, and little moments like a special date with my hubby or a visit from extended family. I just love what’s next.
And sometimes I wonder with anxiety and fear. I want to fast forward because I want out of what I’m in. I want out of the valley and onto the mountaintop. I want a soft breeze in the trees instead of the raging storm.
We are hard wired for fast forward. Bathing suits have already replaced the sweaters on the clothing rack. It’s 24 degrees outside and bathing suits are on full display. We are thinking about Spring even though we’re in the dead of Winter. Easter decorations are out before Christmas lights are down. Fast forward.
The answer I gave my friend didn’t surprise me as much as it reminded me that my heart, once again, needs a gospel fine-tuning. Every day, I need to be reminded of the good news of the gospel.
God loves me. He gave His son for me. God has adopted me as His beloved child and has given His Holy Spirit to me. My life is hidden in Christ.
My fallen heart needs to be daily reminded of this beautiful and freeing truth ~ I already have all I need in Christ. I don’t need to worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow has enough trouble of it’s own. I need only remember that I already have all I need in Christ and His grace is sufficient for all my needs today.
God did not design me for fast forward. He designed me for this very moment. He designed YOU for this very moment. He has you where He has you for a reason - for a purpose. Even in the suffering, even in the valleys, He has us where He has us for a purpose - that we might know more of His comfort, that we might know more of His power, that we might know more of His heart for us.
2 Corinthians 1:3-9
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us…… We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.
And it’s usually in the time that we most want to fast forward that we are most likely to find God in the midst of our muck. He is there - teaching us and leading us to rely more fully on Him – empowering us to stop relying on our own limited and frail resources and to instead rely on His life saving and changing grace.
Yes, I’ve lived my life more ready for the NEXT and not the NOW, but my heart’s cry is that God would help me learn to be fully present in the “in between” – in the waiting - the watching - the hoping and trusting stage.
My dear friend Elisabeth recently gave me this wise advice about the in-between.......
Remember that He has us WHERE HE HAS US. How wrongly bold are we to not consider the in- between a notable "where" - a precise "location" after all? I’ve never been a person that finds joy in the in-between. I am so trained and committed to doing what I am supposed to do that the "in-betweens " become wasted time that I could ordinarily be really setting in a direction.
On my own the in-betweens are not precious.
Without Jesus the in-betweens are always on my way, almost there, departing someone, leaving somewhere, looking for something- in sum: lost.
But with Him...they are precise. They are bold moments. They are not by my definition, but His.
What would our salvation have looked like if Jesus spent the time He was on earth like I do on many days – trying to fast forward, that is?
I loved her question to me, and her reminder of what Jesus did with His time here on earth. It was, as she said, all precious.
The in-between is where patient endurance is produced - the place where we grow deeper into the One who also suffered - the One who suffered on our behalf. (2 Corinthians 1:5) The in-between is often where God does His best work in our hearts.
The in-between, the waiting - it has purpose - God planned and designed purpose- for our good and His glory.
It can take us from “Lord, give me the desires of my heart” to “Lord, give me a heart that desires what YOUR heart desires.” The in-between is where our hearts are melted and molded - such a sweet transformation takes place. Freedom fills the place where anxiety once reigned. Yes, all of this, when we surrender and live fully right where He has us – when we trust He is faithful to complete the good word He began in us.
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
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