It’s Good Friday today. Appropriately, the weather turned chilly, and a light fog is clinging to the foothills around our house. Richard and I were out walking with Rocky earlier this morning, and I was thinking about resurrection. Around us the fog shrouded the faintly green hills, but the scent of orange blossoms assured us that this is the Easter season.
I was remembering how I felt about ten years ago during the time Richard and I were studying the New Testament with our neighbors every week, slowly discovering things the Bible taught that we had never before realized.
I had become aware that something was changing in me. I had always tended to be a worrier; God had already dealt with me in a profound way, teaching me to surrender my chronic fear to Him, asking Him to replace the spirit of worry with His Holy Spirit. While the paralyzing fears I had had for years had abated, however, I still lived with low-level anxiety that always hummed in the background of my days. I lived with the regrets and lessons of the past always in my mind on the one hand, and on the other I compulsively tried to manage the future, driven by perfectionism and a desire to fortify myself against the unknown. I was seldom able to enjoy the moment fully. If I were to let myself feel contentment, I suspected, I would surely “pay”. The other shoe was bound to fall; my only self-protection against potential devastation was hyper-vigilance and refusal to succumb to the temptation to enjoy life. But something was becoming different.
One evening after Bible study I was walking back into the house after taking out the trash. I remember looking into our lighted living room as I passed the window and realizing that for several weeks that low-level anxiety had been receding. I became aware that I felt content in a deep way that I had never experienced before. I was, in fact, enjoying the moment without a sense of impending potential doom. I was actually living in the present without regret for the past or anxiety for the future. “Now” was enough—and I knew the future was God’s.
I realized with a rush of comprehension that this gift of “now” was the work of the Holy Spirit. “The Holy Spirit has given me the present,” I whispered.
It was a miracle of grace. As I came to know that Jesus was all I needed, that in Him my future was secure, as I acknowledged that I had been living in a false understanding of who He was and what He had really done, He had been filling my heart with peace, replacing the cognitive dissonance that had seemed normal with the truth of His total sufficiency for me.
Today, Good Friday, as I was remembering that startling awareness that God had given me the present, relieving me of the need to worry about the future, I had one more insight. This gift of living in the present is the effect of God’s giving us a new day, “Today”. As the writer of Hebrews explains in chapter 4, Israel failed to enter God’s rest. “Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before: ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts’ ” (Hebrews 4:7).
God has given me Today, and I no longer live with the existential angst of worrying when the other shoe will drop. This deepening trust in Jesus is the effect of the “Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his” (Hebrews 4:10).
It has now been several hours since I realized that the Holy Spirit’s gift of living in the present is the practical realization of God’s new day of rest: Today. The Good Friday gloom still blankets our town; the sun has not broken through the low clouds. This day is important, though. Because there was a Good Friday, there was a Resurrection, and the resurrection has given me life now!
It’s not just the work for my eternal security from which I rest; because of His eternal Sabbath rest, I can also rest from my work of managing my unknown future. Because of Jesus’ resurrection I am alive—and I have Today! —Colleen Tinker, editor
Copyright 2000-2012 Life Assurance Ministries, Inc., Casa Grande, Arizona, USA. All rights reserved. Revised April 11, 2012. Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org