Saturday, 30 August 2014

Living in the Present: Without ‘Oughts' and ‘Ifs'

Hello All,
Have you ever wished that you could turn back time and start over?
Perhaps you could have said the words that you should have said and refrained from actions that you should have refrained from.
Have you ever wished there was a time machine which could take you to the future and ease your mind from worries?
We know all too well that magical clocks and time machines do not exist.
Are the regrets of the past and anxieties of the future preventing you from seeing God’s goodness in the present?

Living in the Present: Without ‘Oughts' and ‘Ifs'
By Joanne Liaw Sook Ling (25th Feb 2014)
Based on Henri Nouwen's 'Here and Now: Living in the Spirit'
‘You ought to have been more careful. Look at this mess!'
‘She rejected me; I ought to have loved her less'
‘That man ought to have spoken more kindly to her!'
‘I ought not to have done that, for now I suffer’

‘You ought to have refrained from that bad investment!’
‘She hurt me; I should have paid her less attention’
‘He ought to repay her for the wrongs he has done!’
‘I should have spent more time with my daughter and son’

‘You should have spoken the truth instead of lying!’
‘She cheated me; I should have guarded my feelings’
‘He ought not to have been born; that cold-hearted man!’
‘I’ve done wrong but I can’t turn over the time sand’

‘I must get everything right; what if I do wrong?’
‘What if her affection for me does not last long?’
‘I know I must change; but what if I fail again?’
‘Should I love others? But what if that brings me pain?’

‘Should I be generous? What if I lose money?’
‘What if I get hurt? I will lock my heart safely’
‘What if I could never atone for my mistakes?’
‘This task is hard; what if I don’t have what it takes?

Do you find it trying to live in the present?
Does the past hurl at you guilt and accusations?
Does the future overwhelm your mind with worries?
Does it feel like you’re bearing loads that no one sees?

The Shepherd says, ‘In this world you will have trouble’
But with His comfort and strength you will be able
To cross over the ‘oughts’ and ‘ifs’ which weigh you down
It is in Jesus that true solace can be found

Jesus says, ‘Take heart, I have overcome the world’
Come to Jesus; see his love and mercy unfurled
In His Holy Word that brings us before the cross
To see his blood spilt for us at such a great cost

Points for Reflection:
I [Jesus Christ] have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33)
·         All of us have regrets of the past and anxieties of the future.
·         While we are living in this world, we will not be free from the problems and cares of life.
·         We sometimes wish that life could be simpler.
·         Take some time to ponder upon the regrets, disappointments and hurts of your past. Reflect on the things you worry about in your future. Ask yourself, ‘Why do these things trouble me so much?’ Then come before God in prayer, freely express to Him your ‘oughts’ and ‘ifs’ and find comfort in Him.
·         Since we cannot change the past and have little control (or in fact no control) over the future, do we look to the One who has total control over our past, present and future?
·         Jesus says, ‘Take heart; I have overcome the world.’
·         The greatest problem that is staring humanity in the face is not the depressing economy, natural disasters, poverty, starvation, loneliness, violence and whatnot.
·         But it is the imminent judgment of eternal death (after the physical death) for those who do not put their trust in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
·         It is surprising that we are more worried about our temporary problems which should be secondary to the eternal problem.
·         For those of us who trust in Christ, our greatest problem of sin has been dealt with by Christ. Have we lost sight of the significance of the cross? Have we been so focused on our earthly problems that we fail to appreciate God’s blessings in our lives? Apart from salvation, which is God’s greatest gift to us, what are the other ‘flowers in the garden’ that we can thank God for?

·         If you have not put your faith in Christ, what are the issues in the past, present or future which are preventing you from doing so? Remember that the troubles you see in this life would only last as long as you are living on this earth. Have you thought about your greatest problem after death? Trust in Jesus while you still have the chance to and do not be weighed down by the ‘oughts’ and ‘ifs’ of this life.