What’s Next?

Finish the sentence: “I can’t wait for _________.” For what? Life to return to normal? Your next vacation? Retirement? The weekend? If you’re like me, it seems that much of my time is spent longing for some future time and missing out on the present time.

This past Sunday I read this convicting quote from John Ortberg, “At this point in my life, I’m just trying to not miss the goodness of each day, and bring my best self to it” (The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, 246). I put the book down and realized that I’m missing a lot of goodness in each day. I’m simply not looking for it, because I’m too busy looking ahead.

In his classic book, The Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis writes, “For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity.” John Mark Comer adds this little quip, “All the best stuff is in the present, the now” (ibid., 249).

If so, then why are we in such a hurry to leave the present and step into the future? To leave today in order to get to tomorrow? The present is full of goodness with so much to see, to celebrate, to receive, to share, to enjoy. 

Yes, for some the present is filled with pain, grief, loneliness, or hurt. There are times when we long to step out of the present and into the future. The hope of heaven is not fanciful thinking, the denial of reality. “We do not lose heart,” because “this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17).

The hope of heaven is grounded in the present reality of our resurrected Lord who will never leave us, nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). We hold fast to this hope set before us (Hebrews 6:18). This is why in the present we find joy even in the midst of sorrow. Our joy is in Jesus who abides with us, so that we can abide with Him (John 15:1-5).

I am a slow learner. Yesterday was Labor Day, one day after I read the John Ortberg quote about trying not to miss the goodness of each day. By mid-morning I was already dwelling on what I need to get done through the rest of the week. In less than 24 hours after my determination to be present in the moment, I was looking for the future, like an addict looking for his next fix. 

Fortunately, each new day brings new opportunities to get this right. We need to get this right. It’s time for us to slow down, inhabit the moment, and receive the goodness of each day. If the Present is the point at which time touches eternity, then there’s literally no better time than the present. 

Let’s celebrate today, this day, and not dread tomorrow, “for tomorrow has enough troubles of its own” (Matthew 6:34). What did the Psalmist say? “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). So, now, why don’t you go and enjoy the day?