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If you are like me, there are times when I just struggle with the “now.” This struggle manifests itself through nostalgia for the “way things used to be” or through some future possibility I am hoping comes to fruition. At other times, my mood hijacks the “now” I am inhabiting. Sometimes I feel like I am living in between a past I prefer or the future I hope materializes and consequently, I miss the opportunity of the “now.”

This is a real danger as we continue to live through a global pandemic. Many of us thought we would be back to normal by now. Because we are clearly not back to normal, now we are frustrated by unmet expectations, procrastinating things that need to be done, or anxious about what the future holds.

However, we must remember that God is the God of the now. Practically, this means that the moment you and I are currently in is ripe with potential and possibility. It means that the God whose plans never fail and whose purposes come to pass (Isaiah 14:24) has a “will to be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10) right now!

So how do we seize the opportunity of the “now” that God has given us?

1) God knew about our “now” before it happened, and He’s with us in it.

We need to reclaim a high, robust view of God’s sovereignty over all things. The Puritans prayed for this theological truth with these words: “… nothing can befall me without His permission, appointment, and administration.”

Sometimes we struggle with this when bad things happen. However, we must remember that Christians do not believe that bad things do not happen to good people. In fact, our faith is founded on the fact that a horrible thing happened to a perfect Person, and that it happened to Him so it does not have to happen to us (Romans 5:6-8). But the good news doesn’t stop there. This same God who rose from the dead promises to be WITH us in every “now” we face (Deuteronomy 31:6).

2) God’s goal for us is moment-by-moment dependence and obedience.

Too many of us can’t get past our past or we are always waiting for some perfect combination of circumstances, feelings, and open doors before doing what needs to be done. The result? We do not pay enough attention to the present time we have. Consider the following Scriptures about the importance of right now:

  • In Galatians 6:9-10, we are told to do all the can we can while we can.
  • In Philippians 3:12-14, Paul shares his commitment to not be shackled by his past and to press on in his desire to know Christ deeply and richly at all costs.
  • In Mark 5, make note of how many times Jesus is interrupted and how He stops to maximize the moment.
  • In John 5:19, Jesus shares that His present tense relationship with the Father guides and shapes all his activities.
  • In Ephesians 5:16-18, Paul writes of redeeming the time, understanding God’s will and being controlled by the Holy Spirit.  In other words, God is in every moment and with us in every moment, therefore every moment is precious and God’s will can be done in every moment given to us.

3) In every moment, God wants to help us see what He sees and think what He thinks.

Elisha’s servant could only see the enemy but not God’s provision, so Elisha prayed that his eyes would be open to perceive God’s presence (2 Kings 6:17). We are also promised the “mind of Christ” so we can think God’s thoughts about our now (1 Corinthians 2:16). As we pray for our own sight and to ascertain God’s mind, here are some possibilities for the now in which we find ourselves:

Am I delaying obedience? God will not move past a point of disobedience and now is always the right time to obey.

What do I need to unlearn?Sometimes we can’t enjoy the present or sense God in it because an old habit, hurt, or mental map needs to finally be dealt with. Being a disciple (a student) of Jesus means we often have to unlearn how we used to do certain things, think about certain topics, or handle our relationships. Our now is often when God asks us to develop new patterns modeled after Christ.

What promise of God am I trusting? Faith does not start with a feeling or a set of perfect circumstances; faith starts with a word from God that we believe simply because it is His Word. God works by faith.

Am I giving energy to a toxic emotion? Moods, feelings, and emotions are gauges, not guides. A disappointment, unmet expectation, unplanned detour, or other life challenge will tempt us to become bitter, cynical, frustrated, or at the very least, distracted. Our opportunity in the now is to not let those emotions have the final word and then write the next chapter of our story.

Turn to Christ, dwell on His love displayed on the Cross, and meditate on His glory.

Let God love you now. Let Him define you now. Let Him be the God of your now, right now!