Most times the question is asked: What’s next? These two words immediately bring the future to mind. These two words can also lead us to miss the present in the form of what’s now.
That’s one of the things I appreciate about Jesus. He always took time to not only consider what’s now, but He would also act in the present moment as needed. Most, if not all of the miracles that took place during Jesus’ time of ministry, happened when He or others were on their way to what’s next.
In Luke 7, after Jesus healed the centurion’s servant, He along with the disciples and a large crowd were on their way to Nain. During their travels, Jesus saw a funeral processional. Yet, His eyes weren’t the only part of Him to see this. His heart did as well. Compassion fueled His next moves in this now situation, resulting in the resurrection of this mother’s only son. New life was given to this young man physically and new life by way of faith increased within the people.
There are two thoughts that follow Jesus operating in what’s now. The first is that we never hear of Jesus being bothered, annoyed or irritated by the interruption of what’s now taking priority of what’s next on His agenda. It was in these moments, these now moments we were and are afforded the opportunity to experience God who will leave the 99 for the one. It’s us. We’re the one. The beauty of it all is that while we are the one, the 99 are still cared for because of the omnipresence, omnipotence and omniscience of God.
The second thought is though not always considered the case on our finite timetable, when Jesus does pause for the sake of what’s now, He’s never late for what’s next. A very familiar story about Jesus’ friends, Mary, Martha and Lazarus in John 11, confirms this thought. Lazarus died. His sisters, Martha and Mary, were quite adamant that if Jesus had been available in the now, which was then, when Lazarus was sick, he wouldn’t have died. The divine irony of this story is what’s next and what’s now were all the same. If Jesus hadn’t waited, there would have been no need for the miracle of Lazarus’ resurrection. If Jesus hadn’t waited, there would have been no opportunity for us to see Jesus’ holiness remain as His humanity was revealed in weeping. If Jesus hadn’t waited, we wouldn’t know the possibility of hearing our name called to light and life of what’s next in the midst of a dead, dormant and dark what’s now.
Jesus took time, consideration and action in what’s now before moving too hastily to get to what’s next. Through Him we have relevant and relatable illustrations. Even more, we are reminded in Hebrews 11 that what’s now is our faith. It was faith that moved people to reach out to Jesus for their what’s now to change what’s next. It was faith that moved Jesus to pause for their what’s now and empower their what’s next.
Are you moved by faith to pause in what’s now or fear you’ll miss out on what’s next?
Rae Karim, formerly chapel director at Christian Theological Seminary, is now pastor at First Christian Church of Honolulu. She can be reached at email@example.com.