Now vs. next

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Raise your hand if you’re a planner. Raise your other hand if marking things off your to-do list gives you great satisfaction. So, if you’re like me and now have both your hands raised, listen up to a truth that hit me square in the face a few days ago.

Worry happens when I live in the next.

Worship happens when I live in the now.

Yup, I had to think on that idea more than once for it to sink in deep where it needed to go. Deep into my core beliefs about trusting God and His plan and Him as always being for good (see Romans 8:28). And before that truth could sink in deep, it had to dig up and root out the lie that I can make good plans just like God. A lie flourishing from being planted deep and nurtured by an insidious, opportunistic, and ubiquitous arrogance which grows even faster than kudzu. A lie in sharp contrast to the truth that living in the next will demand more than I can give while living in the now opens the delight of the moment to me.

Please know I don’t say any of this lightly or easily. Rather I’m repeating to myself, “This is truth. I choose truth for this moment.” Then I do the same five minutes (or less) later because my heart or mind has already slipped back into the lie that I’m capable and God isn’t willing or able.

Isaiah 60:22b GW captures this idea with When the time is right, I, the Lord, will make it happen quickly.

Scripture tells me God is faithful, trustworthy, kind, gracious, loving, powerful, and unchanging in all His ways. The Holy Spirit affirms those truths from Scripture with peace and rest when I choose to trust God. And my soul responds with gratitude and hope when I choose to believe Scripture and the Holy Spirit as knowing far better than I do what is good and right for me.

Yet even with all the data pointing to the simple and beautiful answer of faith, how many times do I ignore truth and wallow in the ashes of my own arrogance? Far more than I care to count, much less confess.

Because counting and confessing arrogance points me straight to the truth that God is good and I’m not. But in the counting and confessing, I’m set free in the truth that God will work out all things for good. Thus, I’m positioned to recognize His plan as what is good for now and the not-yet.

For when I stop, see truth, and embrace its freedom, I am released from worry and redeemed to worship. Because that’s how surrender works in the kingdom of heaven. Little is made much while much is transformed into far more than I can ask or imagine (see Ephesians 3:20-21).

Thus, I’m telling my heart and mind this truth yet again from Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT, Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

And I’m also telling myself this truth from Isaiah 26:3 HCSB You will keep the mind that is dependent on You in perfect peace, for it is trusting in You

Will you tell your heart and mind the same now?

Thank you friends for buying these books! Please know that when you’re purchasing them, you’re supporting student scholarships at Northeastern Baptist College which is shining the light and love of Jesus all over Vermont.

Links for purchasing Good Ground Volumes 1 and 2:

Volume 2

Volume 1

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Written by and copyrighted to Beth Madison, Ph.D., 2023.

Published by Beth Madison

author, speaker, learner

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