Enjoying Where God Has You Now

back-to-the-future

If traveling to the future were an option, I’d be all over it.

The future has such promise, and I’ve spent many hours pondering what’s to come. When I was single the future held the promise of marriage. Now that I’m married the future holds the promise of buying a house.

I longed for the day when I could purchase an iPhone. Thirteen seconds after I bought my phone it became obsolete, and I could look forward to getting a newer, faster phone someday.

When I was in high school I couldn’t wait to get to college. By week two of college I couldn’t wait to graduate.

Unfortunately, in my eager anticipation of the future I’ve often missed the grace that God has for me in the present.

In each season of life, God has blessings and grace for us that are unique to that season of life, and God wants us to enjoy those blessings. In his book The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis, writing as a senior demon to a junior demon, says:

We want a whole race perpetually in pursuit of the rainbow’s end, never honest, nor kind, nor happy now, but always using as mere fuel wherewith to heap the altar of the future every real gift which is offered them in the present.

When we perpetually long for the future, we miss the gifts that God has given us right now. We sacrifice the joy we could have now, in our current season of life, on the altar of the future.

God has a unique joy to give to singles that married couples won’t experience. He has special grace to bestow upon college students that the workforce doesn’t get. And He has special grace for renters that homeowners don’t have.

So what about you? Are you enjoying where God has you right now?

Comments

  1. says

    I am learning to enjoy at my work place right now. Few months back I was struggling of being here, coz i wanted a better job that would do me some good, career wise. But then i realized that I failed to see the joy and blessings God has bestowed on me in my current job.

    • says

      Caroline – I think job struggles can be a great temptation for us, because so often it seems like there is something else better! While this doesn’t mean that we don’t look for new jobs, it also means that we have to fight for contentment where God has us. So good that you’re doing that.

  2. says

    Having relocated from MD to OH, I find the greater temptation looking back not ahead. Especially when I first moved, I would longingly wish for what I used to have. I am happy to say that right now, I am very happy with where I am, but it is possible (maybe this is an old person thing) to miss the joy of the here and now by looking back not forward.

    • says

      That’s a great point Laurie. It is so easy to miss what God is doing now by looking back rather than forward. To look back on the good old days. Sometimes I wonder though, if my remembrance of the good ol’ days is slightly skewed by my current circumstances. What do you think?

      • says

        The good ol' days can be as romanticized as the unknown future for sure. Still, I had a pretty great thing going in MD so it required a lot of self control not want to return there in my head and heart. By God's grace, I'm trying to let the richness of what I experienced in the past (particularly with regard to fellowship) inspire faith and hope that God will do this again in a new place.

  3. says

    thanks stephen.

    there have been many areas where i’ve struggled with contentment lately, the two biggest being loneliness and health issues. in a struggle to not complain about the pain that happens in my body, i have found that i’ve become very shallow and not allowed people to know what’s really going on in my weak, weary and struggling heart… hence the loneliness as well. its so easy as a single to think that when i’m married i’ll never struggle with loneliness anymore. or that if God chooses to heal me, that I’ll never struggle with contentment.

    God’s been reminding me in so many ways that where He has me right now is a pleasant place… even if I don’t think it is. that all the unknowns to me aren’t unknown to Him. and that knowing He is sovereign means I can rest in the middle of unknowns and uncomfortable situations. thanks again.

    • says

      Those sound like some really difficult challenges. I’ve seen the challenges my sister faces with constant migraines, so I can imagine that it would be really difficult.

      So much of the battle of faith is to remember that God has us in good places. I’m still trying to learn that…

      • says

        yeah, i pray for your sister often. how i look forward to the day when there will be no more pain…

        … but for today, I’m grateful for His grace, mercy and help in time of need.

  4. says

    My mother-in-law reminded me of this truth, contentment in today, when our children were young. I was always looking to the next milestone – when they were going to take that first step, or when they would finally say, “Momma!” instead of “Daddy!”

    And seven years ago, we had several changes in our family, the death of Ron’s grandfather, who was our spiritual mentor and overall wonderful man, the death of my father, who although he only knew the Lord for 12 years, left an idelible mark on our lives and the lives of our children, and then a uprooting of our family from SC to PA- a huge change for someone who had never lived more than 30 minutes from the beach. We left family, friends, a great church and ministry behind. I had not idea how hard it would be but the Lord has been faithful and gracious, providing us with new friends and a new church home. I’m still learning that to long for the past is to foolishly waste the blessings the Lord has for us in the here and now. Mom was right, the time to cultivate thankfulness is now, the time to praise Him is now, and the time to enjoy what He is doing is now. I don’t want to miss the gift of now.

    • says

      It’s been interesting to hear how many people have commented about longing for the past. I totally understand that desire, especially when you’ve left everything that is comfortable and familiar. Your courage to follow the Lord to a new place is commendable!

  5. says

    Oh Stephen, how I struggled with this over the years. I was struck this past year when we visited ole LOLC last (I guess that’s not the name anymore, eh?). That visit was the FIRST visit in 8 years that I did not openly weep with homesickness. How I longed to be back. As we moved around the country, nothing just felt like HOME. Looking back, I see how God was preparing my heart for the earthly home he had for us. We are settled. We have a fantastic church. We have started our family. I still miss friends from LOLC, but I don’t struggle with that heart-wrenching discontentment anymore where I always looked to the future to when we might come back.

    On the flipside, I find my heart aching to cling to the past. Our son is about to turn one. I feel like I missed a good chunk of his infancy with depression/anxiety. Now that I am well, I treasure every day and feel like time is just flying by too quickly. Oh, if only this fickle heart could rest in God daily!

    • says

      It’s amazing how moving causes us to struggle so much with discontentment. We’ve moved four times in the last three years and I can relate to the desire to just settle down somewhere. But in each place God has been teaching us to be content.

  6. says

    Thanks Stephen. Whether it’s singleness, health, or recurring sin; it’s so easy to focus on “when is this going to change” instead of enjoying my Savior where He has me now. One of my favorite quotes is by Samuel Rutherford, “The Great Master Gardener, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, in a wonderful providence, with his own hand, planted me here, where by his grace in this part of his vineyard, I grow; and here I will abide…” It’s a helpful reminder when I want to be or do something other than what is His sovereign plan for me. Thank you!

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