Friday, September 19, 2008

Lord of Time

All of us have memories we wish we could wipe out, or better yet, go back and do differently. All of us have moments when we would like to be anywhere but in the present situation. And all of us have at least occasional fears regarding an uncertain future.

It's hard to say what's hardest: dealing with the wounds of the past; coping with the struggles of the present; or conquering worry about the future. All three really feed on each other. "Lord of the Past," a popular Christian song in the early 1990s, talks about how the past can make the present miserable--and probably implies that the feelings and actions of the present affect the future. Past sin begets present agony. Present "just this once" begets future habit. Worrying in the present about the future can have especially unpleasant results; once fretting becomes a habit it soon grows into a compulsion, and the failure of past worries to materialize is more likely to add guilt for being so "ridiculous" than to actually lessen anxiety about the future.

"Live in the moment" is the standard pop psychology remedy--and can even be said to have Scriptural warrant (cf. Mt. 6:34). But if we try to conquer past, present, and future by our own willpower, we invariably fall short. God is the only One Who can be trusted with things to come and Who can turn even the worst past into a beautiful present and future (cf. Gen. 50:20; Rom. 8:28).

Things work out best if we make Him Lord of our time.

Our God is Lord of all past times--
So take courage, all you with regret:
However black your past deeds,
However many
Your lost opportunities,
There is hope for you yet.

Our God is Lord of the present--
So take courage if all life seems bleak:
However small your best deeds,
However scanty
Your best opportunities,
God gives strength to the weak.

Our God is Lord of the future--
So take courage; though you cannot see
How the life you are living
Can bear a harvest
From what you have been given,
God knows all that will be.

Our God is Lord over all time--
The Beginning and the End is He:
All past guilt He shall banish,
And He guards the future
Until time shall vanish,
Swallowed in eternity.

No comments: