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The Passing of Time

At this season of the year, we are quite conscious of the passing of time. How shall we handle this demanding thing—the passage of time? It’s with a touch of nostalgia that I say goodbye to the old year and look forward with a degree of anticipation and maybe even apprehension to the oncoming of the new. Time would fail to attempt to list all of the interesting events which have taken place in the year which is now slipping into history. Time would also fail to list the place in the year which is now slipping into history. Time would also fail to list the possibilities for the 12-month package of eternity which is now breaking upon us. Nevertheless, the slipping away of the old and the oncoming of the new is a constant process which places more demands upon us than, perhaps, we’ve ever suspected. In fact, some people are simply unable to handle the passing of time and, therefore, lose themselves in nostalgia on the one hand, or attempt living in fantasy about bright possibilities on the other. How can we live in this sort of eternal present which is ours, this null between the past and the future?

We have a good piece of advice on that subject which comes to us from an impeccable source. That piece of advice advises us, and I quote, “Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth to those things which are before.” Therefore, we are supposed to lean into the future and away from the past.

This advice, of course, comes to us from the Bible and it tells us that the past should not unduly influence the future. Beware of the past because it can weight, it can freight our present sensibilities and warp them out of shape.

First of all, beware of past failures. The failures of the past must now be allowed to become the demoralizing influence of today. I can tell you that every person, without exception, who lives in the world has experienced a degree of failure in the past, some of which approaches the point of the catastrophic, the tragic. However, these events should not kill us off. God has made provision for the past by, first of all, welcoming us to accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, as a result of which we are saved from the penalty and power of past sins. If we are Christians, even though we experience failure in our Christian lives, the Bible says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” We can then move on from there with wonderful assurance.

But, beware also of past successes. In all probability, more people are ruined by their successes than by their failures. Success produces presumption, pride, a false sense of assurance that we are the masters of everything. Most honest people of whom I am aware who can be called successful are quick to ascribe their success to luck, to providence and the perceptive ones, to God. Only a fool takes complete responsibility for his successes because he knows that there are happy accidents of history which put him in the right place at the right time, with the right attitude and the right capability to respond to opportunity. Past successes do not usually mean all that we think they mean.

But both of these are to be forgotten. We are rather to reach forth to the things that lie before. God calls us ever and always to live today and especially, tomorrow. He invites us to have bright anticipation for the days to come.

Therefore, at this time, may I pass on a word of suggestion which may be helpful to each of us. It is this, “The future is a bright as the promises of God.” God has promised to watch over us, to supply our needs, to never leave us and never forsake us. Therefore, the wisest posture that any person can put himself in is to be at the place where he can confidently apply the promises of God to the challenge of living today and tomorrow.

Then the future can be a marvelous thing, indeed.

One more thing to remember. . . There is coming a day in which even the future will be past and we will move into the wideness of eternity. At all costs and at whatever price, be sure you are prepared for eternity. Prepare to meet God and to live in His presence in the ages to come. That is the preparation without which no other preparation means anything, whatsoever. Happy tomorrows to each of us.