The Beautiful Gift of the Present with Jesus

It’s been four years since I started Hope Through Hard Times. The Lord had given me pieces of what this ministry would look like, but, like most things, I couldn’t have pictured all the developments and stages I’d walk through. It’s been a blessed and challenging journey along the way, but one I continue to love.

When you’re living in the assignments of God’s will, it is a beautiful place of surrender. It allows you to continually give your dependence to the Lord, to seek His next steps, and to find peace and joy in His gracious revelation of His will for you.

Even though you may have identified your service in that assignment, and are passionately pursuing whatever that looks like, it doesn’t mean it is easy or blissful. The Lord takes opportunity in every situation to grow your character and spiritual maturity. Your life as a Christian is always in preparation for your eternal life with Christ in His Kingdom.

“I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

So, there are moments of celebration and of challenges. In this always lies the combination of sorrow and joy; a refining that will produce in you everlasting treasure.

“For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

Much like everyday life, and the ebb and flow of your assignments, the space between Christmas and New Years finds you in the mix of sorrow and joy. Perhaps this year was mostly filled with joyous memories and it’s hard to think about turning the calendar to a new year and all the unknowns of the future, producing a tension between joy and anxiety of the unknowns. Or, for you it might be that this year has been more sorrowful so the thought of turning the calendar brings you a bit of joy in anticipating that things will be better. You want to hasten closer to New Year’s and you’re doing anything you can to prepare for that new day.

But the reality is that you can’t hold on to the past as it will always be just that: the past. And you can’t dictate your future. Only God can. So, the best is to learn to live in the awkward space of the present where joy and sorrow mingle. For I find it is in this space where God presents His greatest peace and revelation.

The past is in His hands. He heals the wounds of those sorrows and leaves you with joyous memories, should you choose to let Him.

He offers His peace for the future as each detail is in His control. They’ve all been recorded and end with your good and His glory.

Therefore, it is in the present moment where He shines the brightest because it is in His presence where the greatest development of your relationship with Him is formed. Sitting at His feet, soaking in His words, and responding in worship and adoration.

Can you think about the past? Absolutely, and you should. You should celebrate God’s work and faithfulness to you. Enjoy the wonderful memories He’s given you and of those you love. Reminisce the adventures you’ve taken and the discoveries of Him, yourself, your work, and the people around you. Just don’t get stuck in the painful memories, never letting yourself see where the Lord has brought healing to them. Only go to those places when you’re ready to do the hard work of trusting Christ to heal that which is broken. In that space, you’ll no longer be the victim of them. You’ll be healed and the sting of emotion tied to them will be no more.

Can you dream about the future? Absolutely, and you should! It is exciting to think about the possibilities of what the road ahead holds for you. The greatest future hope lies in the coming of Christ and His new creation of heaven and earth. But He also doesn’t hold you back from the temporary anticipation of things on this earth either. But remember in your dreaming and planning to do so with open hands and heart knowing it is the Lord’s will that will be accomplished. That may or may not fit within your dreams.

And this is where the present is so important – to come before the Lord with those open hands and heart, requesting healing of the past if necessary so you aren’t hindered from His work and use of you, and to hold your dreams of the future loosely. Therefore, in the present, you’ll have God’s peace knowing He is faithfully working in you in all ways. This is where His joy remains and the pleasure of contentment in His presence.

As you say goodbye to 2023 and prepare for 2024, may you rest with the joy and peace of the Lord in this present day, holding on to the true and assured hope of your future with Him.

If you don’t know Jesus, now is a most beautiful time to discover who He is, what He offers you, and by faith and His grace, to dedicate your life to loving Him. There is no greater commitment you can make, no greater gift you can receive, than the assurance and power of Jesus with and in you.

To my brothers and sisters in Christ, blessings to you this season as you rejoice in Jesus and His work, and anticipate this new year before you, Lord willing.

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  1. Bethany Dumas

    December 29, 2023 at 11:22 am

    Amen and Amen! 2 Cor 4:17 is one of my favorite verses! I’m learning to live with my hands open to receive all God gives me because He always gives more of Himself with his gifts.

    1. Rachel

      January 2, 2024 at 12:16 pm

      It’s so powerful, eh? We have beyond an abundance to look forward to! That’s beautiful, Bethany. I especially love, “He always gives more of Himself with His gifts.” I’ve never thought of it that way before.

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