By Andrew Lazo
In thinking about the past as a topic for some musing, I keep coming back to C. S. Lewis’s reminder from The Screwtape Letters that “the Present is the point at which time touches eternity.” The enemy would vastly prefer me wastefully to lavish my moments and energy on exactly those two things I cannot do a damn thing about: yesterday and tomorrow.
Too much focus on the mistakes of my past quickly helps me forget that Christ “is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Col 1:17). When I read that verse the other day, I realized that if the past troubles me, I haven’t gone back far enough. Behind my past God stands; knowing my past He holds it all together for me. What a relief.
The future carries a different though equally difficult danger. When I worry, I often have several opposing, usually dire possible outcomes wrestling and rumbling in my head. I flit worriedly from one to another, almost enjoying the thrill of whatever impending gloom I may imagine for myself. And of course when the future comes, every one of my scenarios proves some sort of false, and the actual thing that comes to pass carries with it more than enough help and hope.
Again, I find that I’ve forgotten something crucial–in this case not heeding that my times are in God’s hands (Ps. 31:15). He knows, and He stands faithfully in the future, ready to meet me with love and good provision for the tomorrow that so troubles me.
So I wrote this sonnet. I hope it helps.
Like an old duffel, dated, dragged around
My past keeps all I try to leave behind
but carry with me, bows me to the ground
Was ever such a burden so unkind?
Meanwhile the future dances out ahead,
some anxious, sixty-second-slow striptease
From this dim now I wait in hope, or dread:
Could what comes next bring pain, or will it please?
But who’s to say? I had far better now
give heart and action to Eternity
or what I have to do today, not how
to slip the past or struggle to foresee.
Much wiser to let go both guilt and fear
And stand in just one place, this now, right here.
Andrew Lazo is a teacher, writer, and sought-after speaker on C.S. Lewis and the Inklings. Read more from him at his website: http://andrewlazo.com