I love the Back to the Future trilogy. There is something fascinating about being able to travel into the future. It’s captivating because of its unreality. We know life doesn’t work that way.
The unpredictability and brevity of our lives has its benefits. There was higher wisdom at work when God designed life this way.
Do we REALLY want to know the future?
How would knowledge of the future benefit us?
Gerald Sittser in his book, The Will of God as a Way of Life says,
How would it (knowing the future) help any of us? On the one hand, if we foresaw that our future was going to be hard and painful, full of suffering, we would recoil, fretfully awaiting its awful reality and wishing we could change it. But at the same time we would miss the wisdom and character that suffering engenders. And if, on the other hand, we learned that our future was going to be easy and pleasant, we would become dull and complacent, which would only diminish our capacity to enjoy the pleasant future that was going to be ours (Page 29).
The irony is that we get a grip on life by letting go of our desire to know exactly what is going to happen in the future.
The uncertainty of our future allows us to value and celebrate the present moment.
The only measure of time we have is the present moment. The past is gone and can’t be changed. The future is not here yet and can’t be controlled. All we are assured of is now.
We can become so preoccupied with the yesterdays and the tomorrows of our life that we neglect the here and now. We can get distracted by the “if onlys” of yesterday or the “what ifs” of tomorrow that we miss the good things of today.
Our life consists of precious unplanned moments. Spontaneous encounters with God and the world. So we learn to embrace the moment.
- We pause to watch the lightning in the distance.
- We listen to the rain as it gently patters on our roof.
- We linger over the dinner table with friends, lost in conversation.
- We gaze lovingly at a sleeping child.
- We read a good book over a cup of coffee on a lazy morning.
- We stroll unhurriedly through a park on an autumn day.
Music, books, conversations with people we love, good movies, and quiet times of reflection open the door for being present in the moment.
Finding these moments varies from person to person and from one season of life to another. But no matter where we are we can cultivate an appreciation of where we are at the time.
Watching children at play reminds me to enjoy the moments. Their life is all about fun. One of the best things kids have going for them is they don’t know how to tell time. Parental commands to, “Hurry up,” fall on deaf ears. Adult concepts of time don’t compute to a child. They are completely in the present.
Today is the “good old days” we will be talking about in 10 years. Today IS “back in the day.”
We make the most of today.
We enjoy the moment.
We don’t know if we have tomorrow.
We don’t know if we have next week.
We live one moment at a time.
That doesn’t mean we don’t plan for tomorrow. As Annie said, “tomorrow is only a day away.” We plan for the future and leave it in God’s hands.
Writer Corrie Ten Boom said, “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”
That’s good advice for today… and tomorrow.
How will you enjoy the “moments” that come your way today?