2017. Another year pregnant with expectation, hopes, dreams and always full of mystery.
I find myself trying to get a "word" for this year, but all that keeps hitting me as I recount the tears, laughter, joy, achievement, adventure and even the mundane moments of last year is that we all live in what I call "the NOW but NOT YET." The tension between the here and now and the fulfillment of our hopes and dreams. I find myself longing to be satisfied in the mystery, not needing to know all the answers to my who's, what's and why's that come in the deep, sometimes unrelenting, internal process I find bouncing around in my head and heart.
We live in this tension most days. In one hand we hold the responsibility of being present to the life we have unfolding right before our very eyes, and in the other hand we hold the hopes, dreams and unanswered prayers we have yet to see in our lifetime, or which have yet to be revealed to generations to come after we've left our earthly home.
Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses]. 2 For by this [kind of] faith the men of old gained [divine] approval.
- Hebrews 11:1-2 AMP
Our faith in the waiting room seasons is the confirmation of the things we hope to see actualized here on earth. It's the evidence of the things we do not see yet with our own eyes. The NOW but NOT YET seasons are powerful as we draw near to what really matters. Often we are living in the in between or the tension and we have to get good at it because there is a whole life unfolding before our eyes as we "wait" for what we do not see yet.
So what do we do in the NOW but NOT YET seasons of life?
When sadness or despair overwhelms, we remember we have a hope to hold.
When darkness sets in, we embrace the very light of life living within us and remember that now WE are the light of the world.
When the "why God" question comes up one to many times, we are reminded that we have a good Father, who has nothing but His goodness to give. There is no evil, sickness or darkness in Him, therefore he cannot give it to us.
And We Wait...
We wait UNSELFISHLY, laying down our lives as Jesus laid his down daily for others.
We wait PRESENT to the moment and the people around us.
We wait in SOLITUDE, pulling away purposefully to be with the One we love and meditate on his adoration and truth.
We wait with FAITH, HOPE and LOVE because these are the three things that will always remain - but the greatest of these is and will always be LOVE. So let's LOVE well as we wait.
Personally, I have several "NOW" needs and desires that are not here YET.
We need a miracle NOW for healing in our family, but it's not here YET.
I would love to live in and own a brownstone right NOW for my kids to grow up in, have friends over and have dinner parties and guests galore, but we don't YET.
I would love to see the church around the earth perfectly united NOW as Christ's bride, but we're not in perfect unity YET. (That's why the equipping of the saints is so necessary to reach the lost and bring us all into perfect unity - Read here (Ephesians 4:12-16)
I would love to see racism, injustice, poverty, wars, and the refugee crisis cease right NOW, but we're not there YET.
Sometimes life can feel like a waiting room...
These tensions are hard to live in, tough pills to swallow some days - yet here we are with life unfolding right in front of our eyes beckoning us to be PRESENT to our lives right NOW. There are children that need their momma's and their daddy's to put their phones down NOW and play with them, talk to them, hold them, acknowledge them. That person on the street that you're walking by needs to see your smile right NOW to know that there is still hope in this world. Your neighbor needs some grace, and possibly some fresh baked cookies NOW (I think we all need cookies now) just because. Your co-worker may need you to take them out for a meal so they can just talk and you can be a light to them in the season they are in. Your cashier may need healing or an encouraging word - so be present to the moment and step out and love well.
I want to get better at embracing mystery as I live in the tension of the NOW but not YET. I want to get better at allowing myself to be loved and loving well. I want to get better at slowing down, looking people in the eyes and not being tense or caught up in "what's next" when right NOW is unfolding in front of me. I want to be present to the NOW as I wait in hope for the NOT YET.
9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
- 1 Corinthians 13:9-12 NIV