The Past, Present and Future

(Special Note: I am working on an article for the local paper as a special guest columnist. This is my first attempt at the article and I shared it at church last night… Please, Please, Critique…)

Heb 13:8  Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

When living in Alaska, this time of the year was always exciting. The snow in the city is history and winters icy grip is loosing it’s hold. The sun is hanging around more hours than before, fishing, golfing and vacations plans are in the works, and school is about over. The hope of summer is for long, dry days filled with outdoor fun. It is not so different here in Washington.

Consider, though, that we forget that the future summer will contain overly hot days, mosquitoes, crowded parks, and the high cost of fun. We fondly remember summers past through rose colored classes and paint the remembrance with youthful views of playing throughout the day and night with little regard to the clock.

The halfway point of the year has not arrived, yet 2011 is hanging in the balance to prove whether it will be classified as a good year. Many see this as a year of turmoil – poor spring weather, devastating storms, war, budget issues, the price of oil reflected at the pump, employment, mortgage crisis, and bankruptcy. Hidden within these issues are moments of pure joy – the first day to get over 60 degrees, the sun reigning in the blue sky free from clouds, the recent victory over the enemy, the news of a hoped for child arrives, lives spared from the ravages of storms, and a loved one makes it safely home from the field of war.

To some the glass is half empty; to others it’s half full. I suspect history shows us it has always been this way. Those with a longer view remember times of depression and world wars and all the struggles during those decades. Still, others with a midrange view recall those tumultuous years of the 60’s and 70’s. Those with a shorter view see only what is happening today as if this was the worst it could ever be. We often only see the immediate, and forget the history, nor do we experience great hope about the future.

Regardless of your view of the glass, you must find ways to moderate your reaction to the negative issues, tempered by the positive issues. It’s amazing how easy it is to let our emotions run away from us!

God gives Joshua a good approach to his future as a leader following on the heels of the death of Moses. In the first chapter of Joshua, he is told to be strong and not only full of courage, but very (vehemently) courageous. He is to be observant of the law, and by following these commandments his way would be prosperous, as long as he did not waver by turning to the left, or to the right.

It almost seems there needs to be a future perspective that causes one to react courageously to the challenges of the present. Joshua faced many challenges over the years of his leadership, and I questioned where his stamina came from. Consider this, he was one of the twelve that spied out the Promised Land forty years ago and only one of two that returned with a good report. I propose that this optimistic view of possibility sustained him during the forty years of wandering, and gave him a tremendous long range view of hope.

Today, we struggle with a longer view of life because we want immediate results. Technology is teaching us that immediate rewards are the simple task of searching through web stores for the best price and the quickest delivery, and being satisfied with the product in-hand as quickly as possible.  I remember shopping through the Sears & Roebuck catalog and placing orders by mail, and receiving the product months later.

Whether you look at the Old Testament, or the New Testament, the concept of keeping balance in ones’ life comes as a result of what is stored up within. Consider these two testament scriptures.

  • Proverbs 4:23 (ESV) – Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
  • Matthew 12:35 (ESV) – The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good…

Regardless of the circumstances, I suggest that the way we face present and future challenges, comes from what we have stored up within, and most of this comes from our past. Let’s fill our lives with good things to help us weather the storms.