The God of Now

People usually fall into two different camps.  There are those who long for the past–who drift in reminiscing and nostalgia and can never seem to escape yesterday. And then there are those who look optimistically to the future–daydreaming of the things to come, never looking backwards, but also never feeling settled in the present.

I guess I am more of a look-to-the-future-type-girl. My life has always been marked by daydreaming and wondering about the “what if’s” and the “somedays.”

Yet, here I sit typing a blog I had never intended on starting, having a third baby I wasn’t sure I wanted, spending my days as a stay home mom–a position, at one time, I wholeheartedly resisted.

You would think daydreaming about tomorrow would be my solace, my sanity, my refuge. But the more I try to conjure up visions of the future, the more right now seems less appealing and less satisfying.

God is the Alpha and the Omega. The Beginning and the End. But lately, He is wanting to impress upon me something more. There is another side to Him that I keep missing.

He is also the God of Now.

Yes, God forgave me of past. And He is also my hope and promise for the future, but what about right now? Today? This very second?

What if there is a third type of person, the type of person Jesus was and is, the type of person God wants to shape in me. This third person is uniquely capable of being content and satisfied in all circumstances not tomorrow, but right now.

Paul was this type of person.

“…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” Philippians 4:10

I have read over this verse so many times, desperate for the secret to Paul’s contentment. I have read commentary trying to unravel the mystery of his constant daily satisfaction.

More than that, Paul was not simply content in all things–he also was also striving  onward and forward to the call of Christ Jesus.

My husband has a saying that I think puts this balance so well: “There is a constant balance between thankfulness for the past, contentedness with what you have, and striving for what could be.”

I want that balance, but how…

How do I become that third kind of person? How do I neither dwell in the past nor looking only to the future? How do I allow God to fulfill me now, in the present, in this very moment whether the “what ifs” and the “some days” ever happen or not?

Upon reading  Paul’s verse again and again it becomes clear that there is only one answer: Jesus Christ.

It is in Jesus, through Jesus, because of Jesus, with Jesus, that we can find contentment. And don’t we all know this is true, whether we live it out or not.

I know that when my eyes are fixed on Him other things simply fall into the background. Everything else fades compared to Him. All else is dim and gray in light of His Light. Contentment is a by-product of abiding in Him. And contentment comes in the now, not in our yesterdays or some days.

Now I guess I’ll be working on the abiding in Him part…<sigh> and not focus on yesterday or tomorrow as much as I focus solely on Jesus…and the simplicity of knowing Him right now.

Do you find you are a person who looks more to the past, present or future? Have you achieved true contentment?

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11 thoughts on “The God of Now”

  1. The is an old school saying that describes some of the future lookers: “They are so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good.”

    I think if we pattern our now after Christ as you suggest that the past will be liberated to be just that, past. I would be easy not to dwell on if it were filled Christlike-ness. If I love my neighbor now then tomorrow I will have loved them in the past.

    It’s a little Carpe Diem, seize the day, and all that stuff but with Jesus doing the Carpe-ing through us.

    It’s a tragic tool of the enemy to make me ineffective. He tries to confound me with the future and arrest me with the past.

    1. Ken,
      you said: “It’s a tragic tool of the enemy to make me ineffective. He tries to confound me with the future and arrest me with the past.” Perfection! I’m stealing your line because I think you summed it up beautifully.

      1. It’s not often that I reach “Perfection!” status so I may print this comment and hang it up. Thanks for the props and thanks for the great content. Your post have been blazing lately.

  2. I think I really needed to read this today. I am most certainly a future-seeker, always thinking about the next event, vacation, holiday, anything but today and this moment.

    I love your honesty in this post, Nicole, it’s so helpful to share these struggles. I feel like the last thing on my mind is to appreciate where God has me in this specific day. What does He want me to do in the next hour or two hours? I never ask that question, but if I did how could that change my days?

    Challenging. I like it.

    1. Heather,
      I like that you took it even a step further–what does God want us to do in the next hour or two? I never think like that either. He is always doing something. He is always concerned with our lives reflecting Christ, so it makes sense to think that He has something for us each and every day.

      That challenges me too! Thanks for sharing.

  3. I really like this post Nicole.

    As you know I have been struggling with depression and anxiety for over a month, probably about 2 months now, but through all this I am learning more about myself. I daydream too much about “what if’s” and “if only’s” instead of just being thankful for the moment I am in.

    I have fallen in like with a pre-believer and it has been challenging for me, but I am learning with my perseverance and prayer that I am definitely not the same person I used to be. I do not define myself through sex anymore. I have learned that there is more to a friendship and relationship than the sexual things. I can actually have a ‘normal’ relationship/ friendship with a guy. I know I have to be careful, but I also know fully that God is with me at all times.

    Throughout the past several months I have either been visiting past memories, crying over those hurts, and depressed OR I have been thinking in the future about what could happen to me, where my life is going, and anxious. Through daily prayer, I know God is going to provide in His timing. I do not need to worry, be anxious, or depressed.

    Of course, I have moments where I feel overwhelmed, but I just sit down and pray in the moment. God loves this guy that I like more than anyone else and I no longer put my hope in a guy; I put my hope in God. Whether this guy and I end up together in the future or not, I just feel blessed that he is in my life now to teach me that not every guy is a jerk and there are actually some decent men out there.

    Anyway, I just wanted to share a little bit of what has been happening in my life since it does have some relevance to your post.

    Hope you are doing well Nicole. You have been in my thoughts and prayers lately.


    1. Aimee,
      Thank you for sharing that here. I’m encouraged to know that you are learning to see how much God has done in you–how different you are from the girl I met 2 years ago.

      I think is is always good to revisit the past from time to time and it is healthy to look to the future–but my prayer for you is that you would appreciate where God has you now and continue to acknowledge what He has done in you and will keep doing.

      I’ll be praying for you Aimee. Thanks again for sharing.

  4. Hi Nicole,

    Recently in my blog archives I’ve been reading postings I wrote years ago. I’ve kept a more-or-less daily journal for over 30 years.

    I’ve noticed a couple of things: I have today the exact same problems I did in years past. I used to be more light-hearted then than I am now. And things I’d prayed about then, but forgotten, have come to past nicely without my realizing it.

    John Cowart

    1. John,
      I like that you keep a journal and for such a long period. It can be so useful and healing even to write and then look back and remember.

      I think I used to be more light-hearted back in the day, as well. Hmm…I wonder why that is. Just life perhaps…

  5. My friend just sent me a link to this blog as this has been a theme for us lately. As we’ve been trying to figure out what God has for our futures He has been speaking to us about living fully in the present.. in so many ways.

    There is such truth in what God is teaching you. Thank you for the reminder. I think it is harder sometimes to ask what He would have for us in the next hour than it is to seek direction for the future. But if we follow what He has for us NOW we will get to our destination of what He has for us in our future. And when we know that God is good and are able to TRUST Him. We can rest in His sovereignty which brings peace and contentment.

    Reading this today is kind of funny as my pastor preached out of Philippians 4 and about this same topic of contentment… so I wanted to share the link with you in case you want to check it out as the sermon is titled Learning Contentment. You may have to wait a day or two for it to actually be on the website though.

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