Future Tripping and the Presence of Joy (Peace)
William Paul Young
I confess to you that I have experienced many un-realities and their attendant emotions this way.
I have repeatedly suffered huge financial losses, ended up living under one of the city bridges, been abandoned by my family, suffered the loss of each of my children, had my closest friends turn out to be villains, embarrassed myself in public, was put on the spot and said something stupid, been to my own funeral (more than once), unsuccessfully tried to stop something horrible from happening, failed repeatedly to live up to somebody’s expectations, been horribly maimed in every kind of imaginable accident known to man, lost all my teeth, lost every job I ever had, came down with every disease possible, regularly looked like an idiot, got my lights punched out for no reason, explained my driving to a police officer, lost my friends, went to school and found out I wasn’t wearing anything, got mugged, imagined the situation that I currently was in was permanent…that nothing could ever or would ever change…you get the idea.
I have written volumes of imaginations in my own head, things that have no substance, no reality, and are empty, vain imaginations.
But I treat them as if they are real. I feel all kinds of terrifying and horrible emotions and scramble to control my life so that these imaginations won’t actually come to pass.
THESE IMAGINATIONS ARE NOT REAL! But I had spent most of my life in or around them. GOD DOES NOT DWELL IN ANYTHING THAT IS NOT REAL!
In these imaginations, Papa (God) is conspicuously absent. Why? Because Papa has no interest in living inside something that isn’t even real to begin with. So in my vain, empty imaginations, I am the only "god" there is. I have to fix things, make sure things turn out right, try to get a handle on people and events…and frankly, I do a very poor job of it…this playing god thing.
So, my life tended to be gripped by fear and I worked hard to get some "control" to prevent these imaginations that I feared. I had a habit of treating something that had no reality or substance as if it were truly real. A couple years ago I stopped this insanity. And here is what I discovered.
JOY has a name. Joy is not only a fruit of the Spirit of God, but a manifestation of the presence of the very real Jesus who dwells inside of us.
In fact, JOY had never left me at all; it was me that continually left Joy, to run into some imagined future and resultant fear.
It had never been Joy that was the occasional acquaintance…it was me that had been the visitor.
For a few years now I have stayed inside the confines of the grace that is for today.
Today is where Papa dwells with me; today is where eternity intersects my life, and even when I get to tomorrow, it is still ‘today’ when I get there. If grace, in part, is what energizes me to sense Papa’s presence, to hear His voice, then I was obviously wasting what grace was given me for the ‘real’ day on imaginations that weren’t even real, had no substance and were empty (every vain imagination that raises itself up against the knowing of God).
Do I make plans for tomorrow? Sure, but they are held loosely and with an open hand…and I don’t live there. I live in His present(ce), which is TODAY. How many times are Grace and Peace, or Grace and Joy linked together in the New Testament? If you try and hoard up grace for more than Today, you will end up with something that is rotting and can’t be lived on. If you run away to empty imaginations you will neither sense His present(ce) nor hear His voice.
I read Joy’s blog the other day, and it began…"A couple years ago Paul became my constant companion rather than an occasional acquaintance…" Sweeeeeet!
This Week Focus on joy, grace and peace for today. In His ‘Present(ce) is fullness of Joy’. Do not worry about tomorrow. If you are not familiar with "manna from heaven," read Exodus 16 and John 6:30-38.
Prayer "Father God (Papa), just as the Israelites received manna from heaven one day at a time, help me rely on Your grace one day at a time so that I can truly find peace and joy in You."