This quote from Brennan Manning completely captured my attention a few months ago:
“The music of what is happening can be heard only in the present moment, right now, right here. Now/here spells nowhere. To be fully present to whoever or whatever is immediately before us is to pitch a tent in the wilderness of Nowhere. It is an act of radical trust—trust that God can be encountered at no other time and in no other place than the present moment. Being fully present in the now is perhaps the premier skill of the spiritual life.
There is only NOW…real living is about…experiencing who or what is immediately before us…to live in the present moment requires profound trust that the abundant life Jesus promised is experienced only in Nowhere.” —Ruthless Trust , pp. 150-158
These words transformed my outlook on all of life.
I read them when I was sitting in my car in the high school parking lot, waiting for my son. Suddenly, I was no longer “passing the time” until Josh arrived. I closed the book and became fully present to what was happening in that very moment.
Jesus was here with me! In THIS moment!
It was almost as if He had opened the passenger door, slid into the seat, and greeted me with a dazzling smile. I had a sudden, electric sense of His very Presence, which seemed to fill the car.
Ever since I became a Christian and learned that Jesus’ very Spirit comes to reside within the heart of every believer, I have known intellectually that He is always with me. And yes, there certainly have been times when I have felt His Presence.
Yet, it was as if He invited me to open my eyes to the incredible reality that He can only be experienced and encountered NOW.
The past is over and the future is not yet…I cannot physically live in either place.
This very moment is where time and eternity meet.
The enemy seeks to do all he can to veil this life-changing truth from me. He wants to keep me imprisoned in regret over the past (“How could you have behaved like that?”) and stark fear about the future (“You’re going to lose everything.”).
That is NOT living…and he knows that full well. Remember, he seeks only to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). By keeping me from fully experiencing and seeing NOW…he tries to steal my peace, kill my hope, and destroy my intimacy with Jesus.
However, Jesus beckons me into the beautiful NOW—the only place on this earth where He can be encountered in all His fullness!
All of Him is available to all of me in this moment. Such a staggering thought!
Ann Voskamp beautifully writes of this truth: “Joy is always possible. Whenever, meaning—now; wherever, meaning—-here. The holy grail of joy is not in some exotic location or some emotional mountain peak experience. The joy wonder could be here! Here—in this messy, piercing ache of now, joy might be—unbelievably—possible! The only place we need see before we die in this place is seeing God, here and now.” (One Thousand Gift, p. 33).
Joy filled my heart because…I can do now!
Jesus never asks me to try to figure things out on my own. He does not expect me to store up enough faith to make it through a stressful time. Instead, He asks me:
“Do you have faith in Me right now?”
“Are you fully alive this moment? Are you tuned in to the music of now?”
“Can you believe for this moment that I love you passionately, completely, unconditionally? That right now, I am doing good to you?”
“Would you fully embrace the fact that I am right here with you in all My glory and power? “
Yes! I can do that! And so can you.
Right here in Now/here, you can have a divine celebration, whatever your circumstances. Yes, even the tough ones. When I am caught up in the reality of His Presence, my trials, though still real and painful, cease to be my main focus. They ultimately become the background because Jesus has taken center stage, driving out fear and flooding the dark places with His light.
Ask Him to open your eyes to the fact that He is risen. He is here. His arms are open.
I have never been so alive. My head knowledge about Jesus is now saturating my heart and the result is such joy…His joy…even though my circumstances are still tough.
My senses have been heightened because every moment is blazingly alive with His animated and energizing Presence.
I feel the warm sun on my skin.
I savor the taste of my food.
I drink in the beauty of His glorious creation.
I laugh deeper and more frequently. I let tears fall.
I lovingly study the faces of my precious loved ones, celebrating the sheer miracle and gift that they are.
I acknowledge my emptiness and invite Him to fill those places and make me whole.
I can embrace the ache of living in a fallen world, rather than surrendering to despair because His Presence comforts and soothes and heals me as He quietly whispers that this is not all there is…the best is yet to come.
I surrender to His ways because He knows what He is doing and He makes all things beautiful in its time. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
I treasure all that my days hold…because every single minute, I am held in His powerful hand and delightfully, I am the focus of His intense love. Always, He is here…in the now…revealing more of Himself to me and I am continually astonished by His beauty.
He is writing my story…and yours…in the beautiful, sacred moment called now.
“Taste and see.…” (Ps. 34:8)