Points to Ponder: The Used-To-Be's and the Gonna-Be's
Points to Ponder
The Used-To-Be's and the Gonna-Be's
You scan the radio and hit upon a song that takes you back in time. A good experience or a time of challenge, the song brings up pictures on your mind's view screen. The emotions of that time even begin to return. Sometimes that's good and comforting; even brings a smile to your face. Other times, you recall this as background music that seemed to be playing every where as you drove to a job you despised, or went to places where good memories turn painful now because that place, as it was, is gone; so are the people who had made it special.
Change is the only thing on earth that is constant. The music of different time periods serve as mental index markers. My wife was amazed when we used to hear a song on the radio and I could usually recall the year it came out. These were songs from my days of working in restaurants and then the twelve-hour shifts in the health club. The radio played all day. I used to call it "spar music." On the eastside of Baltimore I worked in a fitness center where the members called the spa, the "spar." One guy actually wrote his dues check out to "Holiday Spar."
Well, so what?
As we rack up mileage, we start getting into conversations at parties or at family gatherings or at cookouts with old friends. We eventually talk about what used to be. The older you get the longer the list of "used to be's" gets to be. The list breaks into chapters; a move, a death, a change in health or career usually marks the end of what used to be. Then you'd look ahead toward what's gonna be. There would be new routines, new environment, new friends, new bills to pay, etc.
Even if you were looking forward to what's gonna be, you'd still look back over your shoulder and remember "a year ago today I was doing such and such." It used to be we did this, but now we're gonna be doing this other thing.
Life constantly moves forward. There is no reverse gear. Trouble comes to us when we try to stop moving. Life doesn't have a "pause" button so you can run to the bathroom or get some popcorn or fix your hair. Nope, it keeps going; and you have to go with it as is. That's why in the Bible life is called a walk.
"We walk by faith, not by sight" (II Corinthians 5:7).
That's tough to do because what comes into our sight can make faith tough to walk by.
"Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen" (Hebrews 11:1).
So you can't really see the substance of faith, but a lot of things you have seen seem to defy faith. So going forward with what is "gonna be" makes what used to be hard to let go. And because you can't throw it into reverse and go back, going forward is almost unthinkable. But forward is the only direction life goes.
God gives us some comfort in the scripture, a perspective from which we can scope out all of life (past, present, and future). Some say that things happen for a reason. I disagree. God takes what happens, the tragedies, our mistakes and failures, disappointments and betrayals, the hurt we've both endured and caused others, and He redeems it. He gives it a reason, using the broken pieces to mold together a new thing for a new day.
"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).
From that perspective as well as the fact that Jesus Christ is "the same yesterday, today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8), we can keep moving forward. Look at the chapters of life, those written and yet-to-be written, this way: Gonna be's are used-to-be's that haven't happened yet.
Everything eventually becomes "used to be."
Maybe we could appreciate special people and life's experiences now, and be more accepting of its passing when it does, if we would live in the past now. People who live in the past after it has become the past are trying to go back - an impossible feat. Thus their good memories of what used to be has become a dark cloud over what's gonna be - and they have neither; can't go back, won't go forward.
Every year I take a long bicycling trip for about a week. I give thanks to God for this one last trip; appreciating every day I can do it. It may be the last one. Anything can happen - something is gonna be, so I'm thankful for what is.
Gonna-be's are used-to-be's that haven't happened yet. So embrace the moment you have while you have it.
Points to Ponder is a series of occasional articles written by Rev. Dennis Whitmore, Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship of Clear Spring, MD. These articles (and sermons) are also found at www.hilltopchristianfellowship.com. Listen to Pastor Dennis on WJEJ-1240 AM, Tues and Thurs, at 10:45am.