As the present now, will later be past
The order is rapidly fadin’.
And the first one now will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’.
” The Times They Are A-Changin’ “
– Bob Dylan –
Things are always changing – in fact they never stay the same. The world is constantly in flux – changing governments, changing weather, changing life stages, deaths, births, etc. – and this is something that I’ve recently turned my thoughts and prayers to lately. Whether it’s weeping with a family over the loss of an unborn child, celebrating the closing chapter of another’s seminary career, seeing the preparations for several upcoming life-long marriage covenants, or seeing the dynamics of many friendships change, God has seen fit to remind of the truth behind Bob Dylan’s words ‘the present now will later be past’ as I struggle to make sense of this time in my life.
I guess I’m not so much struck by the fact that life changes, but rather how often and how much it changes. Because in a few months’ time, babies will be born that will change a family’s dynamic forever, people’s jobs will change, people will move to different cities, and the things that seem so important now will fade into a distant memory only to be replaced with new ambitions, desires, and longings. So I’m left with this tension of having temporary stresses, emotions, and situations, all the while knowing that in a few years’ time and a little more perspective, I will simply shake my head and smile at the drama and ‘turmoil’ that made up my mid-twenties.
Being a ‘type-A’ kind of guy, I like to attempt to exert some control over my life and I enjoy it when things are predictable and stable. But if I’m being honest, this is never really the case (and I hear it only gets worse after marriage and children). It’s a rare occurrence when I feel like everything is in its groove and I’m firing on all cylinders, and when that happens things are smooth and seemingly easy. But then something unexpected happens – a fender-bender that puts my Jeep in the shop, a change of plans that makes me rearrange my schoolwork for something ministry- and/or entertainment-related, or any one of the million things that can change at the drop of a hat.
Surely there is a season and a time for everything under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1), and I thank God that he makes everything beautiful in its time, because death, weeping, loss, and war hardly seem beautiful while we’re walking through them. But the beauty of trusting in God is that no matter what happens in this life, and no matter how hectic the schedules or how random the events, I know that God is ultimately working for my good and for his glory (Romans 8:28, 31). The same God who upholds the world by the word of his power (Hebrews 1:3) also knows the number of hairs on my head (Luke 12:7), so my ‘type-A’-ness can rest easy and worship in all circumstances because I know that God has dealt bountifully with me (Psalms 13:6 and 116:7) through the grace that comes by faith in Christ. Thank God that his sovereignty is so comforting because without it I would be a nervous, neurotic, depression-prone bitter cynic… well, even more than I already am.
I hope that these rambling musings made sense. If they seem jumbled it’s because they’re that way in my head, and I’m praying for the wisdom and perspective to sort them out… or at least the patience and faith to trust God and lean not on my own understanding.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
– Isaiah 55:8-9 –