The more things change … blah, blah, blah

I hate, absolutely hate to have to admit that some things about me never seem to change, no matter how much effort I put into the attempt. Anyone who’s been reading my blog for very long knows that I have a penchant for wanting to know what the future holds. Why? Why do I continually let my mind wander off over the hill to see what’s on the other side instead of just appreciating the view on this side? It’s not like I’ve ever been able to control the future now is it? Even so, it’s a big issue with me. In the last year I’ve posted four previous offerings here on the subject of the future.
In one of those posts I asked if maybe my name had been changed to “Job-alina.” Then last Sunday I was reminded in the sermon that the term “patience of Job” was really off the mark. Job wasn’t patient at all. He was an unhappy camper. Like all unhappy campers he complained loudly and bitterly about his circumstance. So, yes my name could be appropriately changed to “Job-alina.” I’ve spent a great deal of my life complaining about my circumstances; complaining in the sense that I’ve frequently been unhappy with my circumstances and generally always felt that it was God’s fault. Of course it wasn’t His fault, but why should I be held responsible?
The question is, would Job have been as successful as he had been up to that fateful day when, through no fault of his own, his world fell into ruin, chaos and pain, if he’d been able to see into the future? And the next question is, how far into the future would he have needed to see in order to take the steps that made him successful again? What if he’d been able to see only as far as the disasters? Would that vision of the future have dampened his zeal to succeed at all?
What if he’d known what the final outcome was? Would he have worked as hard, loved as much? It’s possible that he would have worked even harder knowing that all would be returned two-fold. If he was happy with his life as it was, would he have worked only half as hard knowing that he would end up with what made him happy in the first place? Would he have held his children as close and loved them as deeply, knowing that he would lose them? Or, would he have maintained an aloof distance in the hope that he wouldn’t suffer as much when he lost them eventually?
For myself, would I have done anything differently in the past, either distant or near, if I’d been able to see to the end of November 2013 and known that at age 69 I’d be working a 40 hour week, with a battered and broken heart which was sooo slow to mend. Would I have loved less deeply, worked less diligently, because after all, it was going to be for nothing?
Would I have devoted 4 years of my life to writing down the details of that life, another year to editing and yet another to getting it published if I’d known the result was going to be so much less than I hoped for? If I’d known the intense satisfaction that would come from knowing that I’d done it, and that in spite of the financial disappointment I would be very, very glad that I’d done it … Yes, in that case knowing the future would not have deterred me from my goal.
The motion picture industry has produced more than a few movies about people who go back in time and attempt to affect the future they were in. The result is generally the same. Messing with, and changing the events of the past never works out well. It’s a domino result and the fact for my life is this; I would only change one thing. If you have to ask what that is you haven’t been paying attention to what I write. With that exception I’m exuberantly pleased with where life has led me. Yeah, so what if I had to go back to work full-time? I enjoy what I do and for the most part I enjoy the people I work with. And … I’ve learned at last a lesson I’d like to say that I wish I’d learned a long time ago. But then, that would be messing with the future thing wouldn’t it. So let’s just say, I’m glad that I know it now.
It’s taken years but I’ve learned that patience is indeed a virtue finally appreciated and for me it has paid off in spades, as they say. If I could just learn to glance up at the framed copy of Proverbs 3:5-6 hanging above my desk more often …
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.”
The key word there is of course “trust” and is interchangeable with “faith”; “have faith.” Live in today, not the past nor the future. That is the hardest lesson to learn and apply, because we all tend to want to be somewhere else, in time as well as place.

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