When You Want to Hide in Your Exceptional Past to Avoid the Brutal Present

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There are days you wake up in the morning and you find yourself worshipping in the temple of your past, and you cannot put your mind around the brutal present. Those days  I have prayed like the Psalmist,

“Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. Behold, I would wander far away, I would lodge in the wilderness. I would hasten to my place of refuge from the stormy wind and tempest.”…

There is some tendency in all of us to run away to our past and make a refuge for us while facing raging storms in the present. There is no one who has known this temptation quite like Job in the bible. He pours over the past, his glorious past and then some more past. For him his present was brutal and the future was mortal. The only thing reliable was his past.

God understands that we are people who wants to see and touch and feel what is real in order to cope with brutality. He understands our temptation to disconnect from the present and worship our past. He sees our inability to make a bridge between our delightful past and disapproving present.  We resist facing the brutal present at any cost.  He knows if it were left to us, we would be people dwelling in our past and never would reach where God wants us, to muster courage to walk through that bridge from our past to the present and into our future.

Job chapter 29 finds Job in this predicament. He looks back at life’s joys.

“Oh that I were as in months gone by, As in the days when God watched over me…”

 

He continues to reminisce over the glorious past in chapter 29: 2-7

When His lamp shone over my head…

As I was in the prime of my days…

When the friendship of God was over my tent…

When the Almighty was yet with me…

When my steps were bathed in butter…

When I went out to the city gate and took my seat in the square…

We see Job looking back at his life and seeing all the glory. I have caught myself many times with the words of Job. I have a real tendency to hide in the past and resist to love the real time.

Not Job. Chapter 30 begins with Job walking into that bridge of reality with courage and taking a honest look at the brutal present.

But now, those younger than I mock me… v.1

And now, I have become their taunt…v.9

And now my soul is poured out within me…v.16

His agony only increases when he says

“I cry out to you for help, but you do not answer me;

I stand up and you turn your attention against me.”v.20

Dear ones, when days of affliction seizes you, you are sized for your faith. If Job would have lived in his past and resisted to look at his present, he would not have acknowledged His need for God. God cannot show up where His need is not felt. When you say, I don’t have what it takes to face this, you are probably right. That is exactly why you should face this. Your very inadequacy is the platform for the glory of God.

When God rescued the Israelites to move them forward they wanted to hide in the bondage of the past. Peter told Jesus let’s make three tents and dwell here when he saw the transfigured Jesus and Elijah and Moses leaving him. Next thing he knew was the overshadowing cloud and the voice that said “This is my beloved son, listen to him.” As much as we want to shelter the glorious transfiguration experiences, it is by entering the overshadowed clouds we get the direction we need for the future.

For the joy that was set before Him, Jesus endured the cross.

Stop hiding in your past, come out to face the present. Next time you find yourself in the temple of your past glories,

-worshipping the idols of yesterdays comfort;

-singing to past entitlements…

-praising your achievements…

Remember to get into that bridge, muster all the courage to look squarely at the brutality of the present and if it takes all of you to do that, just stand. Do not go back to the past to make shelters. Stand if you must, but walk back not. Without that bridge from your past to present, your future cannot be. Look to the joy that is set before you and endure the cross.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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