Today

Having recently written about ‘Yesterday’ my thoughts jogged along to ‘Today’ and I thought I would try to wax poetic about this thing we call today. I don’t think I’m going to win an award for what is contained here, but I’m sharing it as a way of recording my jottings.

I woke and it was today. Wow! How fast it came.
Only yesterday this day was far away.
And I don’t think I’m ready yet for today.
Could I have a few more days to prepare?
I think I was distracted and didn’t realise how time was passing.

Can we just put it off one more day?
Oh.
So, it’s today.
And I’m ill prepared.
Hmmm.

Well I guess I can have a shot at it, but it won’t be very good.
I should have prepared.
I was going to study and do some reading.
And I thought I’d understand more by now.
But I guess that’s not how it works.

Just give me a minute to see if I can find something to help.
Where are those notes I scribbled long ago?
I can’t find them.
And I don’t remember what they said.
Are you sure we can’t do this tomorrow instead?

Cruel is the fate that catches us off-guard.
Unrelenting time has made this moment hard.
How dare it treat me so?
It seemed to go so slow.
But now I’m caught in moments locked and barred.

Today is oh so cruel to catch me unprepared.
It makes me feel the fool and not a little scared.
It leaves me out of step
With hardly time to prep.
It shows me up as one who hasn’t cared.

Others I can see have met this day full force.
Just how can it be that they have kept that course?
How did they do so well?
I wish that I could tell.
For as for me I’m like a limping horse.

While others dash ahead and run about quite free
My feet are made of lead and stumble under me.
Today has bogged me down
And made me look the clown
While others as I’ve said, get the jump on me.

Tomorrow’s on its way and so I make my choice
To pick a course and stay on track with mind and voice.
So when tomorrow comes
I’ll beat the welcome drums
And have it on a tray as I rejoice.

I’m Older Now

That eager lad dashed about with inexhaustible energy. And he bore an idealism fitting for his youth. He didn’t know the tears and toil that time would add to his account.

He knelt in prayer and dedicated every waking breath. And then he stood and spent himself for everyone who called. Silly boy! How they used him up. Those hours and early starts. Those freezing nights and back-breaking loads. Those long, long days in unrelenting sun.

Yet he kept his word and stepped up again and again. They patted him on the head and said nice things about him. Without him much would never have occurred. His back carried the load. His car carried the people. His phone made the calls. His ear listened to the complaints and woes. It kept him on his toes.

The process finally found its end. A young woman won his heart and laid her own claim on his time. Something had to give and so, slowly, the zealous investment was tempered by other calls for his money, time and mind.

He moved on. New pressures called him to the mill. He earned his keep and hers. Together they built a life and did what they could in their spare time.

Marriage and family, renting and working gobbled up the years and put them in the suburbs. Hopes came and went. Projects were launched and spent.

Old sermons didn’t stir as they had before. Other people’s needs were dismissed as impossibilities now. Someone else would have to pay the price that once he’d paid. Others would have to bear the loads he bore. Someone else would have to be the bunny for all who needed a lackey.

His wife and his life, his children and his bills kept him in the real world where dreams were out of place. Yesterday’s ideals were boxed with other relics of his naive youth. How silly to be so simple and so sold out. How fruitless all those miles and hours and aches and pains.

But then…. the heart always retained a sense of that call felt long ago.

While stiffer limbs and double chin replaced the skinny zest,
the youthful zeal, now hardly real was never laid to rest.

Often o’er the years a flow of tears trickled to sermons preached.
The call still echoed there buried by life’s care yet still alive enough to now be reached.

And so it was that an older man stumbled to the altar and stood among a crowd of eager youth. As they committed themselves to serve the Lord with all they had to give he scanned the zealous ones with memories of his journey long ago.

“I’m older now”, he thought. “And do not come with the ignorance of youth. I know now what I did not know back then. I once launched off with wild, untamed enthusiasm. Ideals and imagination pulled me to the front to throw myself unmeasured to the cause.”

“But now I’m not a lad. I’m no longer wet behind the ears. I’m calloused by the passing years. I stand here with stiff knees and workman’s hands. I stand here with my debts and all my life’s demands.”

“I stand here to the call. It asks me for my all. And I have stumbled forward once again.
I know the price to pay. I know what my wife will say. But I’m not here to serve the Lord in vain.”

And there among those crying youth a man bent down to pray. His lowered chubby torso conspicuous among the rest. He’s older now. And he kneels like he’s never knelt before. This is no repeat of youthful zeal. This is something deeper, and more real.

Here is one who knows the price. Here is one who feels the weight. Here is one who drags himself back to where he has been.

A special trumpet voluntary was composed in heaven that day. The angels love to play it when they can. It speaks of those older, wiser ones who’ve chosen to go all the way. It celebrates the yielded-ness of man.

Yesterday is Gone

The Beatles made a huge hit singing “Yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away”. And others waxed poetic about how “Yesterday’s gone” and how they remember “Yesterday when I was young” and so on.

Yesterday’s Hold

The reason “yesterday” has such a hold on people’s lives is that we all carry the past into the present and beyond that into the future. Yesterday is the time we sowed certain things into our lives and today we reap the harvest. So yesterday is a powerful component of ‘today’ and it will still be making its presence felt when we get to tomorrow.

The Catholic Church teaches people to go to confession to deal with the sins of yesterday. Someone sneered at the habit of some who sin during the week and look for forgiveness in the confessional on the weekend. They said it was like sowing wild oats all week and then praying for a crop failure.

The Hindu faith respects the baggage of yesterday as karma, which we carry not only through this life, but into future lives which Hindus believe they will face. Gautama Buddha, who rejected the Hindu teaching of reincarnation, went so far as to say that we cannot remove our Karma even in a thousand lifetimes.

Yesterday’s Debris

Here are just a few of the things we bring with from yesterday, even though yesterday is gone.

We bring our disappointments from yesterday. We face disappointments with others, such as our parents and family. But we also face disappointments with ourselves.

We bring our broken relationships from yesterday. Once we have offended someone else or they have offended us that damage remains, often throughout life. Family reunions and community life become tinged with the hurt and offence that we feel toward others and they feel toward us.

We bring our compromises from yesterday. Once we have compromised our values and character that becomes a weak spot for us from that time on.

We bring our slaveries from yesterday. When we give in to sin, such as anger, pride, jealousy or lust, that thing enslaves us and it controls us throughout our lives.

Today’s Harvest

It is also true, as the Bible teaches, that our actions and choices involve us sowing seeds in our lives. A seed not only remains, but it germinates and produces a whole crop. So when we sow something into our life, we are setting up a harvest in the future.

Today’s harvest is filled with the fruit of the things we planted yesterday. If we planted selfishness, pride, anger, greed, violence, self-pity, wilfulness, addiction, lies or other evil things, we will have an evil harvest today.

If we planted forgiveness, faith, love, trust, humility and the fear of God then we will have a much better harvest today than others might have.

Yesterday is not ‘Gone’

While the songs might say, “yesterday’s gone” it isn’t true. Yesterday has passed, but it has not ‘gone’. Yesterday lives with you today.

Just as yesterday’s piano lessons undergird today’s musicianship and yesterday’s studies undergird today’s understanding, yesterday’s moral choices undergird today’s character.

Transforming Yesterday

“You can’t go back in time” is one way to look at it. “What’s done is done!” might be your way of dismissing the past. But there are powerful ways of unlocking the past and transforming yesterday. Let me briefly outline two of them.

Confession of Sin is a powerful way to unlock and transform yesterday. When you repent of the choices you made in the past God is able to set you free from the debris and consequences of those choices in the present. You can actually get a crop failure, even though you sowed lots of wild oats.

God can go back in time. While you are stuck in the time-space continuum, God exists outside of time. So He is able to go back to your past and make Himself present, bringing healing to things that are part of your yesterday that has ‘gone’ from you.

A Testimony

A friend of mine named Malcolm visited a lady who had chronic problems. When he prayed for her she had a vision of a baby crying in a cot. She realised that she was seeing herself as a tiny baby. She sensed the extreme distress of the baby and it connected with the pain that kept surfacing in her life.

A spirit of intercession came on Mal and he began to weep for her. As he did she saw in her vision that the door to the baby’s room opened and Jesus walked in. Jesus lifted the baby into His arms and as He did the woman felt all her pain and torment drain from her life.

It was as if Jesus was able to go back in time to the entry point of the woman’s troubles and resolve them, even though that was now many years past.

Saying Good-bye to Yesterday

If yesterday has brought its bad baggage with it into your today then be encouraged to say “Good-bye” to that stuff. You can remove it forever by confession and by asking the Lord to unlock and heal your past.

The Steps to Release, which I have written about in my books and in other posts, will be helpful in this process.

I want you to live in the freedom with which Christ has made you free. I want you to be able to say, in all reality, that Yesterday is Gone! Keep all that is good from yesterday and unlock and remove all that is bad. Once you’ve said “Good-bye” to yesterday’s rubbish you will have an even better future to look forward to.