How much of your life is spent either thinking about the past and either the glory of things as you remember them or the disappointments that you have a hard time getting off your mind? How much is spent planning for all the things that you can see happening in the future and you want to get ready for them? It is easy to spend so much of our time either focused on what has happened or what will happen that we have no joy or fulfillment in what IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW. It should float through my mind at least, that what has happened is done and can’t be undone. I may repent of past mistakes and have them forgiven, but even that doesn’t change the reality that they took place.
I can plan for the future every day and think that I have everything prepared so that we can live lives in later days that we have always dreamed of traveling, enjoying events and sports and activities of all kinds. We can lay back the money that the financial planner tells us we will need for full retirement. But how many people have you known that things actually turned out the way they planned? We had a neighbor when I was growing up that was getting ready to retire from the Air Force. He and his wife had saved their money and he had a good retirement coming in every month. They had planned to build their dream house out in the country close to where she had grown up. They came every time either of them could to work on the layout of the house, For over two years they worked as often as possible to build this house for them to move into the very week he could retire. The house was completed, they moved in and two days later he had a heart attack and died. She lived on in the house for a little while but it wasn’t long before she couldn’t stand it anymore and moved on to sell the house to others. We can lay back money, take out insurance and do all those things we are encouraged to do, but we have no control over health, circumstances in our life or even whether we will live or die.
Someone has said that every time we talk about our plans for the future God laughs since He is the only one who holds the keys to the future.
Jesus, in the greatest sermon ever preached made this statement in Matthew 6:34, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” In one of Dale Carnegie’s books, he had a chapter of living in “Day tight” compartments. His point was to live fully today instead of spending your time and energy worrying about what you didn’t do in the past or about what might happen in the future.
The truth is the only time we have to live is today. You could be even more specific and say you only have “NOW” to live. What if I got up each day thinking of what I could do today that would do good and have meaning and then spend that whole day doing what I could to put the most meaning and purpose into that day that I possibly could? At the end of such a day, I would be pleased with what had happened and could lay my head down in satisfaction knowing I had used the day the Lord had given me to the full and now rest would be easy.
The Psalmist declared, “This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” That is a powerful statement that is worth repeating every single day of our lives. If memories are haunting you, then do what you can to correct the mistakes made asking God to forgive you and others that you may have hurt to forgive you and then move on to live today. If you are worrying yourself sick about whether or not you are prepared for the future, lay it in the hands of God, who holds the future.
When Solomon wrote the Book of Ecclesiastes it is a story of the wealthiest, wisest and most powerful man alive in the day, yet as he views life everything is meaningless or emptiness. He tried all the ways he could think of to fill his life with fullness and meaning. He tried things and had a mansion to live in with beautiful gardens all around. He tried wives and sex and had more wives and women at his disposal than anyone else ever did. He tried accumulating more and more things and then it hit him he would soon die and whose would these things be? Over and over again he declares it was all meaningless. Strangely, it is the last chapter when he actually demonstrates wisdom by saying, “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, I find no pleasure in them.” He ends that chapter with these words, “Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body. Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”