Yesterday, Today and Forever

“…one thing I do know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.” John 9:25b

Endgame. My kids had been following the new Marvel movies for years – like my husband and I followed the Star Wars saga from our youth. In fact, several of the movies came out when my kids were little, so we rented and searched them on Netflix until they were all caught up on all 21 movies. Then for the past year, they waited with anticipation for the final installment, Endgame, was released in the theaters. We watched teaser trailers and marked the calendar for the date when we could go. We couldn’t go opening night so we had to wait until the following weekend. We stayed off social media, emphatically told friends NOT to tell us anything about the movie and set our eyes to the following Friday. We bought tickets in advance, stood in line with hundreds of others to get into the theater.

If by chance, there is anyone who still hasn’t seen Endgame – SPOILER ALERT!

One of the key plots was how the remaining Avengers were going to reverse the disintegration of half of the universe by Thanos. That’s where we were left at the end of Infinity Wars and that’s what we waited to discover. Surely, the Avengers would find a way to reverse this devastation. The only solution was to go back, use the Time stone, and stop Thanos before he wipes out millions. If you haven’t seen it, I’ll stop right there.

 A Time Stone. If you had the opportunity to see into the future, would you? Would you like to see where life has taken you, what opportunities you found, what challenges you faced? Or if you could go back and change some decision or event in your life, would you? I know for me I honestly would not want to see into the future. I don’t want to know what the rest of my days look like. I want to discover them. But honestly, I might choose to go back and change or rethink a decision or two. I may take a different path and see where that one may have led to. For sure I would relive the first several years of my children’s lives. I’d like to savor them deeper, do things better than I did, and take the wisdom I gained from many mistakes and have some do overs.

The problem is, we don’t have a Time Stone. We don’t have those options. We have today. We can learn from the past and prepare for the future, but we don’t live in the past or future. We live today. God has given us this moment. He’s given us this day to live for His pleasure and our good. But He also calls us to be eternal seeing people. Our finite time on earth is just a moment in eternity. God has made us for eternity after time on earth is over. But because we can only see today, it’s easy to forget about eternity and thus miss that God is not only working in the moments we see, but also in and for the eternal. And He works in this messy and broken time to call all who will listen to Himself.

 In the powerful chapter 9 of John’s gospel, John tells the story of people who witnessed the eternal God right in front of them and missed it. Jesus answers a fundamental question of why does pain exist in this world? Is it our sin? Others sin? There’s no question that our world is broken, and the sin of man has created so much of it. But Jesus wanted the people to see God’s Hand and His power so that they may know there is Someone more than what they see right now. Jesus compassionately heals a blind man and the rest of the chapter is the investigation if it really happened, is Jesus a sinner, was it a trick? Instead of pausing in awe of the miracle in front of them, people wanted to dismiss it and explain it away. Even the blind man says to the myriad of investigative questions, “I don’t know. All I know is that once I was blind and now, I see.”

Read this chapter in its entirety. It beautifully reminds us of a truth that we can miss Jesus and what He’s doing when we only have eyes for today, rather than the eternal. We can see the circumstances of our lives and only see the pain and disappointment rather than His eternal Hand working to take that pain and use it for His purposes. We may view a move, or a job loss, or an illness and get stuck in what we are experiencing at the moment, not thinking that God’s Hand is moving and working for our and others good. It’s tough and not our first instinct to see past today, but as the eternal people God is calling us to be, we must lay our “todays” into the eternal Hand of God. We build trust in His loving Hand when we surrender our confusion about today at His feet, knowing that His word is true, and He can be trusted with everything.

An often-quoted verse is Romans 8:28 (NASB). “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

This verse is not saying that all things are good, because we know death, sin, pain, heartbreak are not good. But this verse is giving us eyes into the eternal as God takes all things, moves and shakes them around and recreates them for good for us and this world around us.

When we believe and know that about God, we truly can see the eternal.

Mary Quillin is a city-girl-turned-country-girl in her new life in North Dakota. She has been married to her hubby for 16 years and has 3 wonderfully, different kids who have begun their teen years (and she would appreciate all the prayers as possible on that note). After many years in full time ministry, Mary is learning how to show up and daily discover the journey of being available for whatever Jesus leads her to. She spends her days trying to build a welcoming shabby chic home in the heartland of North Dakota while learning to write and run.