Are we there yet? Bet you’ve heard, or even said, that question more than once. Regardless of how much road lay ahead, my response was usually, “we’re not there, but We’re Here!” I’m not sure my philosophical point was conveyed in these moments, but it usually squelched the oft repeated line of questioning. At least for the moment.
It does seem as though we’re never really satisfied with where we are. Young folks talk about days to come. “When we get that job.” “When we have more money.” “When the kids are grown.” “When we have more time.”
Old folks talk about the good ol’ days. “When I was your age.” “When I was growing up.” “Back in my day, we used to walk to school, barefoot, in the snow, uphill, both ways.”
Middle aged folks just waffle back and forth, depending on the subject. “I’m not quite as young as I used to be.” “Well, when I get some vacation from work.” “One day …”.
Maybe we aren’t satisfied with where we are in life because life is hard. So very often, we aren’t sure of what to do or how to accomplish what life seems to have stacked up against us. We get discouraged. We feel unprepared and inadequate.
In our battle for our own self-esteem, we may choose a path that enables us to think we’re in control and temporarily feed our pride, but that path may be to its own selfish end. Then we feel frustrated and disappointed, so we again seek to self-satisfy and fulfill our own measure of self-worth. The cycle continues. We don’t seem to be able to control our own selves, much less others, or the weight of the challenges ahead. Again, we fail. Again, we are faced with difficulty. Again, we feel unprepared and unable.
The hard truth is that we’re supposed to feel that way. We’re not supposed to do life by ourselves. We aren’t adequate. We aren’t prepared. We aren’t sufficient.
God made us to be dependent on Him. Paul David Tripp, in his book, Parenting, describes this reality. Most Christians, he says, “have a fairly good understanding of past grace, that is, the forgiveness they received because of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, and they have a decent grasp of future grace, the place in eternity that is guaranteed them as a child of God. But the problem is that they have little understanding of present grace, the right here, right now benefits of the work of Christ …”. “God has not asked you to do anything that He hasn’t empowered you to do in His grace. He doesn’t send you without going with you.
In your most difficult times, in the middle of the night with a colicky baby, when your teenager seems out of control, when you’re handed that pink slip, when you don’t know how that bill will be paid, when you’re holding the hand of your beloved as they slip away … God is there. When temptations fill your mind, when you want to quit, when you are overwhelmed, when you don’t know where to turn … God is there. When we’re struggling to decide about a call to a ministry or to the mission field, when we’re considering bringing an orphaned child into our home, when we don’t know how to serve our unbelieving neighbor … God is there.
Tripp gives us a few reminders:
- God doesn’t call us to a task because we’re able. He is.
- God never calls us to a task without giving us what we need to do it. He gives us Himself.
- God’s grace works to open our eyes to see accurately. He sees the heart.
- God’s grace frees us from having to deny our weaknesses. He is all powerful.
- God’s grace rescues us from ourselves. He is on mission.
- God’s grace grows and changes us. He calls us as we are but doesn’t leave there.
- God’s grace works to make our heart tender. He transforms us.
- God’s grace liberates us from the prison of regret. He forgives completely.
We don’t have to be adequate, or self-sufficient. We don’t have to have all the answers. We don’t have to live in the past. We don’t have to wait for tomorrow. Past, present, future: God Is. He loves you with an amazing, present grace!