I stepped out unto our deck just before breakfast today and instantly noticed the change that is in the air. For the last few days my weather apps has been forecasting warmer weather beginning early this week and today was the first day that I noticed the tell-tale signs that summer is almost here! That warm but yet cool crispness that is usually present during spring mornings was definitely being absorbed by the warmth of the quickly approaching summer sun. My backyard thermometer is already sitting at the eighty degree mark at 10:45 in the morning. Tomorrow they are predicting temperatures in the low 90’s!
One of the first questions I had asked the former owners of our home the first time we toured the home was where the sun set during the summer. Many of our previous residences received the full brunt of the hot sun on the outside deck which made it very difficult to sit out there except for the morning hours. As it turns out here, the late afternoon sun is shielded from the deck by the bank of tall trees that comprise one side of our home. So the pleasure of continuing our new tradition of sitting on the deck before dinner and enjoying the quiet of the early evening should continue throughout the up-coming summer months! I must admit that this thought brings a smile to my face and peace in my heart.
The idea of future events bringing joy and peace to one’s life kept popping up this weekend as I continued my study in the book of Philippians. Using chapter three, verse twenty with our looking “forward to the Lord Jesus Christ coming (back) from heaven as our Savior” as his basis, the author of my new commentary on Philippians makes the comment that “There is tremendous energy in the present power of a future hope.” The first time I read that a light switched on in my heart as it dawned on me that this is the perfect explanation of the Christian standing in faith in the midst of any difficult situation that they may face in this life!
If you substituted the word “expectation” for “power” in the author’s statement, you would be looking at an almost perfect explanation of faith as described in Hebrews 11:1 where the writer of the biblical letter declares that “Faith assures us of things we expect and convinces us of the existence of things we cannot (yet) see.” (God’s Word ©) When you think about it, we are being instructed to have a future perspective on our present situation.
This is something that I have lived with every day for the last eight years since the night I received the terrible, shocking and very emotional report from a very insensitive nurse concerning the results of my wife’s first MRI back in Tulsa Oklahoma in 2007. To this day, it is a perspective that I see people dealing with every time my wife and I go out in public. To me it is a simple process of Getting Past Now. My wife and I made the firm, immovable decision later that same night in 2007, that no matter what report we received from that day on, that we were going to trust in God and His Word and immediately put any negative reports in submission to the good report of God’s Word and the name of Jesus. (See: Proverbs 15:30 and Philippians 2:10 for starters!)
At that point in time we clearly realized that it was time “to put up or shut up.” To put everything we had learned over the decades of our Christian lives, training and ministry to the ultimate test… in modern lingo… “to put our money where our mouth is!” We decided that doubt, unbelief, worry and fear could have no place as this new chapter of our lives began to unfold. In that instant we knew that our strength, joy, and power for the energy we needed to get past the NOW had to come from our expectations of our FUTURE hope as outlined in the truth of God’s Word. His future perspective HAD to be our present perspective in order to get through this!
What we daily see is people who are making immediate decisions on how to get past the NOW that is staring them in the face when they see us. Sadly to say, most don’t know that they can get past the NOW and they yield to its depressive, hopeless and heartrending results. On the other hand, it hurts when Christians allow that response to overtake them. What is even worse for me has been when those with exposure to the same kind of teaching my wife and I have received over the years in our Christian walk and personally know and have experienced my wife and the kind of loving, upbeat, encouraging and faith-filled personality that emanated from her, get stuck in what they see and have trouble getting past the NOW.
To me, getting past the NOW is what our Christian faith is all about. Once again, it is having a future perspective on the NOW… the perspective of God overriding what you see before you and expecting that view to change or bow its knee to the powerful promises of God’s Word.