Lewis Carroll once penned, "I can't go back to yesterday - because I was a different person then." Indeed, what we were in the past is not something we can ever return to in the present, nor is it something we can become in the future - because what is past is past. We might want to get back to that size ten dress, or that slim and svelte body that was admired by many a gal back in the day, but today's size ten body is quite different than the size ten body I had in my twenties! There are a few more stretch marks, scars, not to mention cellulite that comes with old age! So, I might have achieved the "size", but I really didn't "go back", if you know what I mean!
So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:16-19 NLT)
In the midst of today's chaotic and crippling disappointments, we often want to relive a point in time when things were simpler and just less stressful. We want things to be "as they used to be", but we forget just how much stress those times had because it was a different kind of stress! The point is that Jesus never said we'd "arrive" at some point in life and just "coast" there. He assured us that we'd be constantly in a state of "flux" - there would be movement from here to somewhere else, even if we weren't quite sure yet of where that somewhere else would be. Some things I have learned about being in "flux":
- Today's "momentary afflictions" usually seem like a lot to handle because we compare them to where we were, not where it is we are going. As Paul points out in our passage above, we used to know Christ from a human point of view. Now we see him differently - and rest assured that you will see him differently tomorrow, as well. Our life with Jesus is one of change - from what we used to be into what we are becoming by his presence within us. That may not seem like much, but if we keep that perspective, then these "momentary afflictions" (no matter how catastrophic they may seem) are a means to a new end, followed by a newer end, and then a newer one, and so on.
- Yesterday's "perfect" can be surpassed by today's "not so perfect", even though today's adventure is "not so perfect". It is a matter of keeping our focus on Jesus - so that whatever hurdle we have to overcome today isn't the focus. We see hurdles as impossibilities - he seems them as moments when we can soar! Look it up - a hurdle is an "artificial barrier" over which runners must leap! Jesus doesn't want us to see them as "true barriers", but as what they are - artificial barriers designed to get us leaping!
- Tomorrow's "flight" will differ from today's because the "conditions of flight" will be totally different. Any pilot will tell you no matter how blue the skies look today, there are wind currents we don't recognize the higher we climb! It doesn't keep us from climbing, because the only way to stay aloft is to get to the place we learn to use those wind currents to our advantage - to give us "lift" and not "drag". I don't know the current you will face, but rest assured of this one thing - we can rise above and use those things to further our progress when we aren't willing to just stay in the hanger! Just sayin!