The present is a present. It is a gift. Sometimes, the present is painful. But many times, it is not. And those times of present peace are indeed a gift. They are gifts of God that give us a glimpse into how it will be for eternity. I had one such gift today, riding bikes with my son in the rain along a lush bike path filled with palmettos and live oaks dripping Spanish moss. That moment was a true present, a gift of God. It gave me a sense of awe as I contemplated what coastal South Carolina would be like in perfection and what the Garden of Eden was like before the fall of man.
But worry and regret tempted me away from receiving that moment as a gift. I think this is why God gives us such serious warnings against fear and worry.
"Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. ... 24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 26 If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30 For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Life is hard. God knows that. And He knows we are dust. In the midst of this long marathon of endurance as travelers in a world that is not our home, He gives us presents, little moments of peace and joy that are gifts to aid in our endurance. I think of them like the cups of cold water people hand out to marathoners as they run along. Drink a little and pour the rest over your head. It keeps you going. Those little moments when the clouds part and the Son clearly shines through can be sustaining blessings. Don't let regrets over the past or anxiety for the future knock them away from you in that moment. That's my goal for the rest of this vacation.