Squeeze Every Drop of Joy Out of Now
Henry David Thoreau was a good writer. He had some good ideas. He insisted we should “live in the present” and “find eternity in each moment.” I like that. Now is the time to live, to find joy. As Ralph Waldo Emerson put it, “Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”
If we are wise we will rise each morning and do our best to squeeze every drop of joy out of now. But not for the reason Thoreau said we should do it. “Fools,” he said, “stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.” How sad that the gifted writer failed to see “the land that is fairer than day” that God has promised those who trust His Son for another life, eternal life.
But though we have hope for the joy of heaven, we must not fail to embrace the biblical plan of God for living in the now. The scriptures make it clear that God desires to do works of grace in our lives today, now, and not merely once but continually.
E. Stanley Jones helped me see this. When I shared with him my desire for God to fill the emptiness of my soul with “blessed assurance,” he did not give me a list of books to read nor did he instruct me to pray earnestly until God answered my prayer. He did not say, “I will add your request to my prayer list and pray for you.”
Instead, calmly he said, “Let’s claim one of Christ’s promises and ask him to do this for you now. I like the promise he gives us in Mark 11:24 – ‘Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” He prayed for me, quietly, simply and confidently. I saw no angels. I heard no bells ringing. I believed. Peace came. Assurance came. The emptiness was gone. Joy filled my heart. I received what I asked for and it has kept my soul alive for 60 years.
Jesus invited people to live in the now. To several people he said simply, “Your sins are forgiven.” One of those persons was the sinful woman (in Luke, chapter seven) who wet his feet with her repentant tears and then poured expensive perfume on those feet that would soon be nailed to the cross. Jesus did not say, “Stop sinning and be good and one day your sins will be forgiven.” No, her experience of forgiveness occurred right then, in the moment when Jesus spoke to her. Jesus was really saying, “Now your sins are forgiven.”
I like the way John says in his First Letter 3:2, “Dear friends, now (italics mine) we are children of God….” Now, we belong to Him and He belongs to us. Now the power of His Spirit is at work within us. Now He is present with us. Now He is comforting us. Now He is teaching us. Now He is guiding us. For believers, the power of the now is the power of our God! When John says in 1 John 1:7 that the blood of Jesus “cleanseth us from all sin,” the cleansing verb is in the present tense. His blood is cleansing us now, continually.
To paraphrase Emerson, “Today, this day, this hour, right now, is the best day to open our lives to the wonder-working power of God, so let’s do our best to squeeze every drop of joy out of the present moment.” Do more than seize the day. Live it to the full! + + +