Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? -Matthew 6:27
I never expected that our 2020 will be like this. Looking back, this year started well for me. In January, I attended a wedding in Batangas which was a reunion of great friends. A week after that was a defense of my capstone paper for Masters. Hours, after I flew to Taiwan to catchup with Richt, she went ahead to meet her brother. It was in Taipei that I ran my first marathon after a grueling four months of self-training.
The news of the virus started to grow and got real. Then the lockdown. It started as a blessing to my being an introvert. As the days became months, the reality started to bite. The escape of my brain is to bring my thoughts to the future. I used to hold my thoughts captive and I created an imaginary mountain so that when I need to focus, I imagine the distracting thoughts being carried by a balloon far away beyond the mountain wall.
But the deep longing to go back to normal was almost paralyzing. It was a struggle. The future became nothing but uncertainty. The best news I got during the lockdown is our pregnancy. That was full of joy. Then I woke up in the middle of the night – several nights, and think about how to raise a child during these times, will I be a good father, can I provide for my family.
I thought God was silent. But then, I was maybe too numbed to listen to Him because I was drowned with fear and of the future. One thing I did not change is to hold on to His word. I still open and read the Bible. Many times I will be drowned in deep thoughts and caught myself finishing a chapter without understanding anything. I always believe that at some point He will meet me, again. Or that I will allow His voice to make me still and quiet my soul.
I started reading one chapter a day of CS Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters after reading the Bible. These are a series of letters from a senior devil to the junior devil. The junior devil is sort of being mentored on how to tempt the ‘patient’ (the man). It was like reading how the enemy is scheming to lure the man to be away from God.
“The humans live in time but our Enemy destines them to eternity. He, therefore, I believe, wants them to attend chiefly to two things, to eternity itself, and to that point of time which they call the Present. For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity. He would therefore have them continually concerned either with eternity (which means being concerned with Him) or with the Present — either meditating on their eternal union with, or separation from, Himself or else obeying the present voice of conscience, bearing the present cross, receiving the present grace, giving thanks for the present pleasure.
Our business is to get them away from the eternal, and from the Present. It is far better to make them live in the Future. Biological necessity makes all their passions point in that direction already, so that thought about the Future inflames hope and fear. Also, it is unknown to them, so that in making them think about it we make them think of unrealities.
In a word, the Future is, of all things, the thing least like eternity. It is the most completely temporal part of time — for the Past is frozen and no longer flows, and the Present is all lit up with eternal rays. Hence nearly all vices are rooted in the future. Gratitude looks to the past and love to the present; fear, avarice, lust, and ambition look ahead.”
While reading this chapter, it was as if my heart was opened to reality. That thinking of the future – it progresses to uncertainty, fear, and worry. I started remembering and declaring the verses to not worry about the future, to trust God when I am afraid, to access grace that is new in the morning. Grace that we can only access in the present because it is new tomorrow morning. This verse is what I am and will be holding on to:
For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness. – Psalm 26:3
Whatever my circumstances, before my eyes is his steadfast, unfailing love. Today, I am walking in His faithfulness.
What a great day to open every morning the gift of the present!
Photo by Joia de Jong on Unsplash