Robert Mann: The eternal now
"So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today's trouble is enough for today.” In Matthew chapter 6, Jesus reminds us not to spend the day worrying about the next day. In my experience, regrets about yesterday can cloud my moments as much as worries about the future.
My gut response to the words of Christ are feelings of futility and impossibility. The arrows of worry come from all directions, expected and unexpected, and I cannot simply shut down my mind. Moments of weakness then lead to guilt for not measuring up.
There are two forces that most often prevent me from being present in the moment. The first is a lack of belief that God is really there. The second is a lack of awareness of the people and environments around me.
Not recognizing God’s immediate presence is more a crisis of reality than of faith. It is to know but not realize the immediacy of his company. My intellectual pride wants the space of a misty and removed deity, but that does not fit the footsteps of Jesus - sharing bread and fish with his disciples. In those too rare moments when I am acutely aware of God’s presence, I have almost more joy and peace than I can handle.
Realizing God is really there tends to leave me fully vested in the moment. It is ironic, but then maybe not so much, that focusing on God increases my focus on everything else. The detailed wonder of creation is detected and appreciated as if being seen for the first time. I am left with the thought that happiness is a degree of awareness.
Ages ago I read book by Paul Tillich titled “The Eternal Now.” I remember very little of the content, but the title has always stuck with me as a reminder of how Christ intended for us to live. Our days are informed by the past and we must plan for the future, but each moment is filled with new possibility in God’s presence.