Monday, 2 July 2012

God of the Past, Present, and Future

The pitter patter of the Princess prancing into my room awakened me this morning.  I was awakened from a dream in which King Daddy was practicing a sermon about God being the God of the past, God of the present, and God of the future.

Somewhat disappointed that I didn't get to hear it all, I could not go back to sleep. (Even though I had talked Princess into playing for a while in her room.)  I laid in bed, my mind exploring this truth.

Does the word not tell us that God is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last?  Are we not told He is the same yesterday, today, and forever? (Revelation 22:13, Hebrews 13:8)

He is the God of our Past...

So I remember all that God has done for me.  How he has been with me, in every triumph and every failure, every victory and every defeat.  I remember how he has never left me, never forsaken me, His child.

Even in the rough times when I ran from Him, times when I tried to hide.  Times when wounds were so deep it felt like I would never be able to take a deep breath again.

Have you felt that way?  Can you understand?

And yet in those times, He held me.  It was just a matter of time before I felt the warmth of His presence and Him coming down and wrapping those strong arms of love around me.  Father has picked me up more than once and held me while the tears flowed.  He has listened as I hurled accusations at him and beat my fist against his chest screaming Why? He has comforted me when no person and no words could make the hurt go away.  He was there.

And He loved me.

He is the God of our Present....

If I am honest, this may be where I struggle most.  I know His love for me is constant, unfailing, and unchanging.   I know how He has always carried me through, always provided, always met me where I needed him most.  (Click the link above on the word unfailing for some great verses...better to read than this if you're short on time!) 

I know that my future is certain and He is always working things for my good. (Romans 8:28) I know the end of the story, that He wins, that I win.  I know that I get to spend eternity in heaven.  I know His plans are to give me hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11) I know.

But in the here in now, I must confess, I struggle.

When the Young Prince screams and kicks as I carry him all the way to nursery (pre-school) to pick up the Princess, and I feel the gaze of everyone else watching the show, and I pray all I know to pray and try all I know to try.  I cry out, "God please help him calm down, help me do the right thing to snap him out of this fit."  And he cries on.

When the nights are too short and filled with cries of hurting, sick, or fearful children.  When my mind wonders about how we are going to make ends meet and where will we get the money to pay for....

When the Precious Princess who is normally so compliant looks me in the eyes and tells me, "NO!"  or just has a meltdown of tears over nothing that would warrant a flood of emotion. ( God must smile at my mirror.)

When they are fighting over a toy.  When I didn't make it to the store to get dinner supplies and now the kids are screaming for food and I still have to go to the store.  The moments I need Him NOW are endless.

The mom's who have been there before tell me "It's a phase; it will pass.  These years are sacrificial." But while those words bring some comfort, that is still about the future.  Where do I find help in the here and now?

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.  (Hebrews 4:16)

O LORD, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress. (Isaiah 33:2)

In those moments I cry out, "God my need is now. My time of distress is now! HELP!"

Friends, the truth is, He IS the God of the right now.  He is what I need RIGHT NOW. No matter what circumstance I am facing, no matter what circumstance you are facing.

When the righteous cry out, He hears and delivers them from all their troubles (Psalm 34:17.) Those are God's words, not mine.  It's not always an immediate deliverance, but He is with me in every fire.  Again in every triumph and failure (and it seems there can be a thousand of each in a day.)  He is right here.

And when there is triumph...I give thanks and rejoice!

But when failure, an unwanted guest, bangs at my door, I needn't beat myself up.  God understands the frustrations of the moment, and He uses each moment to build me up, to teach me, to keep me humble.   (You too!)

His grace is sufficient.  Confess, repent, and receive the forgiveness for which He has already made provision.  He bore my failures on the cross.  He died to atone.  He walks with me. He holds my hand.  He understands.

And He loves me.

He is the God of the Future.

Yes, I get to go to heaven.  There are no words I could say to put that into perspective.  No more tears, eternity with the Lover of my soul.  Worshipping with saints past, present, and future.  Worshipping with angels and things that will utterly blow my mind....forever, wow!

But that is not my only future.

My future is also here on Earth.  He is God of my future.  If my future brings wealth and fortune and every good thing I can imagine.  He will be there rejoicing with me in the victory.

Or if my future takes me down dark paths into poverty or sickness.  Even if my future brings the things I fear most....

He will still be God.  He is the God of my future!  If suffering or pain find there way to my door, I have to rest assured that my God, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever will be there walking me through.  Carrying me through the pain.  Showing me His love, pouring out His comfort, wiping away my every tear.

He will be there no matter what.  It's who He is.  He will see me.  He will help me.  He will guide me.  He will encourage me.  He will correct me.  He will teach me.

But most importantly....

He will love me.


My day has come to an end today.  The Princess and Prince are sleeping away, even King Daddy has made his way to bed.  All day I have pondered the God of my past, present, and future and waited  to see what would unfold as I sat down to write tonight.  

I am thankful for this love, so deep, so incomprehensible. "Love so amazing, so divine.  Demands my soul, my life, my all."

How can I withhold anything from Him?  How can I let my past overwhelm me? How can I quit in the present whilst knowing He will bring me through?  How can I worry about the future when I know He will be there no matter what comes?

I know His love. I know it never changes. I know it will always be true.  I know in my head, but that's not where God wants to leave the knowledge.  He wants it in my heart, and He stops at nothing to reveal this truth and make it real to me.  

And friend, He wants it in your heart too.  Why?

Because He wants you whole.  He wants you restored from every hurt in your past.  He wants you to overcome challenges you are facing in your present.  He wants you to know that you needn't fret about what your future holds because His plans are always for your good.  Because He thinks precious thoughts towards you, more than the sands of the seashore.  (Psalm 139: 17-18)  Because He wants you mature and complete lacking nothing. (James 1:4)

But most of all....

Because He has loved you, He loves you, and He will always love you.

He is love.  (1 John 4:8)

Lord help us to grab hold of this truth.  To know Your unfailing, undying, unrelenting, passionate love for us.  In every victory and in every defeat.  In every triumph and in every failure.  You are God.  You are love.  Yesterday, today, and forever.  Reveal it to our hearts, and help us to trust you more.  Amen