by Pastor Tim Burt
Think about this for a minute… Think about what you picture when you think of a hope or a dream or a prayer that you have. When we hope, dream, or pray, we usually have a picture in mind of what we hope for. For example, for the past two years, we’ve experienced a bit of a drought where I live. Twice, the creek in my backyard has dried up, something we rarely see happen. The dryness was taking it’s toll on everything. Lawns were brown, leaves were falling from the trees from lack of moisture. Lakes, rivers, and creeks were perilously low. Fruit and vegetables were struggling to grow normally! So, I had been praying for rain. Not just praying but fasting and praying. When I prayed, I would imagine a beautiful soft soaking three-day rain in my mind. Not the kind that floods but that comes so lightly but consistently, it all soaks deep into the ground. That was the picture I had in my mind when I hoped and prayed for rain.
When we hope, dream, and pray, whether consciously or unconsciously, we create a picture within us of the fulfillment of that hope, dream, or prayer. Unless you’ve been constantly disappointed and discouraged in life and stopped hoping and dreaming all together, the inner picture of your hopes, dreams, and prayers are lofty. And they create an inner subconscious expectation. Rarely are those expectations met or exceeded in the way we hoped. And because of that, we too often experience some level of disappointment. Proverbs 13:12 (TLB) tells us that those disappointments take their toll saying, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick…”
Does that mean we should stop hoping, dreaming, and praying? Absolutely not! But I do want to make a suggestion to you. Understand that the fulfillment of hopes, dreams, and prayers the way we picture them fulfilled are good but infrequent. Every once in a while something will turn out as good or better than you expected, but for the most part, that is infrequent. Very infrequent! So, how about taking an entirely different approach. How about living more in the moment! How about making the most out of the moments you live in without the lofty expectations. How about you bringing your A-game—your best to those moments, taking the joy, fun, and blessing that you can in them. Let me explain further with this picture of a winter scene I took one night!
This winter scene is a picture I took one night right at the end of a snowfall. It had rained early and filled up the creek. It then turned into a huge snowfall. And then it was evening and the night was perfectly still. It couldn’t have been a more beautiful picturesque night. I took some pictures that people have wowed over for some time. But, I really had almost nothing to do with it. I am not a skilled photographer. I could not have planned this picture. I could have not have staged this picture. I could not have set up the beauty that was there. I looked outside the window as saw how beautiful it was outside. I thought, I want to capture what I can of this. I just happened to catch it with my iPhone. I was trying to see what was before me and be in the moment. And by the grace of God, I caught this picture and many others just like it. They so far exceeded any picture I’ve ever taken and I had almost nothing to do with it. I just dived into the moment and gave it my best!
Here ‘s another example. My brother was spontaneously in town last week. He lives in Colorado. He called me on the spur of the moment and said Do you think we could pull some of the brothers together? On the spot, I had an idea that he liked and we went for it. Only 3 of the 6 could come. That could have felt disappointing but we went for it and made the best of it and had one of the best times together ever! We could have planned something elaborate but instead we went for the doable and got in the moment. We made the best of it and it was far greater than anything we could have planned. I know a memory was created that we will never forget!
We always seem to be dreaming and grasping for the lofty instead of capturing what is in front of us. One day God was directing Elijah. He was doing so when Elijah was having a difficult time. God stirred Elijah to go to a town called Zarephath where he would run into a widow who was also having a hard time. Read the story! God had an answer to both their problems. Being in the moment and letting it happen was where they’d have a beyond expectations moment. Spoiler alert. God would use the widow to feed Elijah and Elijah told her what to do to experience a very supernatural miracle of provision that would take care of her for a long time! Crazy wild story and yes, you’ll have to go read it yourself in 1 Kings chapter 17.
My point this morning is this. It’s great when we can hope and dream and pray about things we’d like to see, but, (I promise you this is the truth), you would have far more in the moment experiences that would exceed some of your hopes and dreams if you’d learned to live in the moment.
At the beginning of each day, if you will ask God to be with you in your day and be used to be a blessing, and then ask Him to lead you and help you bring your A-game to your day’s “moments,” you’ll experience far more moments that exceed expectations instead of disappointments. You’ll experience far more joy, far more fulfillment, and make far more memories than all the pictures created through your hoping, dreaming, and praying. Why? Because God will live with you in your moments and bring Himself through you to them. This is why God described Himself as “I am.” He is now! He is in the moment. So live in the moment with God! God is in the moment! That’s why Jesus said to His disciples before He left this earth, “…I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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