Then, When, & Now
Then, when, and now - three very insignificant words until you begin to think just how much they affect your lives. Stop for just a moment and consider the word "then". Then can speak of the past - a point in time at which something happened other than what is happening right now. Lots of us have a tendency to be limited by our "then". When often refers to the future - a point in time where we imagine one thing or another actually coming to fulfillment. Living in the "when" moments all the time can be a little daunting because we are always imagining something "better" than the way it is right now. Now is the only really "good" way to focus our attention - if we do a good job with the "now", we won't have to worry about the "then" or "when" in life!
So do not worry about tomorrow. Let tomorrow worry about itself. Living faithfully is a large enough task for today. (Matthew 6:34 VOICE)
Jesus gave some very practical advice to his disciples - stop worrying about what is in the future. I have heard it said worrying is "borrowing" from the future - bringing whatever the future holds into the present. It clouds the present (now) with the stuff which belongs somewhere in the future. If we do this long enough, we get overloaded with not only the issues of today (now), but those of the future (when). I don't know about your life, but my "now" holds quite enough issues which must be worked through and completed without hauling all kinds of stuff from the "then" and "when" moments in life!
"The rest of the story", as Paul Harvey used to say, is what is so important for us to grasp: So do not consume yourselves with questions: What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear? Outsiders make themselves frantic over such questions; they don’t realize that your heavenly Father knows exactly what you need. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then all these things will be given to you too. (Matthew 6:31-33 VOICE) Jesus pretty much hits the nail on the head, exposing what we all have a tendency to do from time to time - some of us way more frequently than others! We are consumed by the worries of what will come next, how it will add to what has already happened, and how we will possibly be able to handle it all. To this he simply says, "Stop that!"
We can all take upon us the vantage point we choose - one of focusing on yesterday, tomorrow, or remaining steadfastly focused on today. The vantage point from which we view life often makes the difference between "managing", as we call it, just barely making it through. The difference isn't in how well we manage it all, but in who we are trusting to manage what is no longer in our control and what really hasn't come into our control yet. The matter of control is at the center of it all. Jesus reminds his disciples "control" belongs to him. We may think we have it all "under control" just because we are "managing", but truth be told, the control is really outside of our control!
The task of living for today is a large enough task, according to Jesus. The "now" holds just enough challenges for today, so we do well keeping focus contained to "now". I think Jesus was teaching us to trust - for trust is really based not so much in what has passed, although it is a foundation for trusting; nor is it based in what is to come, although we focus on the future with a sense of trust it will all come to pass as it should. It is a fine balance between the three - "then" not holding us back, "when" not bogging us down, and "now" being securely placed in the heavenly Father's hands for the management of what today holds. Just sayin!