by Eva Zarley
To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under Heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1
I have always had the tendency to be discontented with the present. As far back as I can remember, I have wished the "future of my dreams" would be here and now. It is impossible to be happy when one operates in that frame of mind.
What is most senseless about it all is that as we move on into our future, we find ourselves looking wistfully back at the past and longing for those "good old days." In retrospect, they prove to have been far better times than we realized when we were living them.
Lately I have been going through a deep process of self-examination and asking that God reveal and remove everything in me that is destructive and keeps me from fully ministering His love and His word to those around me. If you ever ask God for that in all sincerity, prepare yourself for some painfully honest moments, or in my case, hours.
Victor and I have both had some very tearful sessions as we beheld ourselves in the revealing light of God's love and word. How we have longed to go back into our past and relive those days with our former spouses in light of the understanding we now have! What we would give to be able to look into our loved one's eyes and tell them how desperately sorry we are for our insensitivity and discontent!
Sadly, that can't be done. Perhaps it won't even be necessary, when we are joyfully reunited with them in Heaven. Anything that happened on earth, probably doesn't matter to them at all. I imagine they are so wrapped up in the sweet presence of Jesus, they aren't a bit concerned with their earthly past. I am sure they feel nothing but the deepest love for us, with no regard to our earthly failures and flaws. So we should be thankful that we have each other, to benefit from the things we each have learned.
I have made many mistakes in my past and am still making them in my present. However, I have never been more in constant prayer for God to show me my errors and help me to change. One of the areas He is helping me with is in the area of contentment. It is vital. I recall Philip spending a lot of his earthly time and energy trying to make me "happy." Later, when his illness set in, I found myself frantically trying to make him happy, but it could not be done. His joy in living was utterly gone. I don't know how much I am to blame, the mental illness was genetic and had plagued him even before we met. But I am certain my periods of discontent did not help him.
Now I try to not take the loved ones in my life for granted. I don't want to be in a hurry to move on into my future. We don't know what our real future holds. It might not live up to the pleasantry of our imagination. Contentment with the present is a vital key to walking in joy and peace and trust in the Lord.
One day, I was wistfully longing to quit my job and start the traveling for the Lord that Victor and I were hoping to do. I was looking forward to giving Kristina and Victor my best, not the frazzled leftovers of a working woman. I was weary of the battles that come with stepping out into the workplace, where so much strife and consternation abides. I started to ask the Lord, "When God, when will we get to move on? When will I be considered ready to 'go out into all the world' as You commanded?"
Suddenly I caught myself and stopped. "Forgive me, Lord. I don't want to jump ahead. I want to be truly ready, so that I don't bring You shame."
My mind swirled with thoughts of how I failed to love those co-workers who walk in selfish ambition and caused me harm and pain. I thought of the rude drivers I face on the road and the lack of love I feel for them. I thought of the folks who tormented my husband in his final days. I shook my head. I was not yet ready to be sent forth, by God. I was still healing and being changed. A patient must be patient.
Then the Lord gently reminded me of the things I was enjoying in what was then my present. I loved being able to see my grown son whenever I want. I loved having extra cash to help him while he went to college. I loved my parents and was thankful that my dad, whose health had become fragile, was still with us. There are some elements that would be inevitably gone from my future, that I was happy to have. I should not have been in a rush to press forward.
Since that time, Dad has passed on and my son has married and has his own busy life. I've been able to quit my job and home school my daughter, which is certainly not without struggles, but much better than the battles in the workplace. It is much better, and though many dreams have still not been realized, I am more content to know I am on God's schedule and I find peace in that.
Every season of my life is for my good. Just like everything the Lord orders in my life. I want to savor each moment and learn what God wants to teach me. I want to stop trying to run ahead. I am so much like the disciple, Peter, thinking I've "got it" when I really don't. Lord, thank you for my present. I praise you for it, just as it is.