Thursday, September 11, 2014



It's a word full of hope. A word brimming with fresh starts, new light, and waiting opportunity. Yes, tomorrow will be the day I'll finally get this right.

Today's failures fade in the cheerful, glimmering promise of a better tomorrow. Yes, I'll do better tomorrow.

But the promise of tomorrow deceives because tomorrow always becomes today.  

And in that never-changing ever-constant rhythm of day into night into day, yesterday's failures never magically transform into tomorrow's victories because they always become today's struggles. 

In many of the small choices of our lives, we don't face a decision between right or wrong--those choices are clearer and easier. So often, we make a choice between okay or good, between fruitless or fruitful, between futility or productivity, between passivity or activity, between stagnancy or growth. 

Yet tomorrow still cheerfully beckons. 

Tomorrow I'll rise early...
Tomorrow I'll stop indulging...
Tomorrow I'll start memorizing Scripture...
Tomorrow I'll get off of Facebook...
Tomorrow I'll pray with my spouse...
Tomorrow I'll read God's word longer...
Tomorrow I'll begin showing hospitality...
Tomorrow I'll start being more patient...
Tomorrow I'll go to bed earlier...
Tomorrow I'll start giving more generously...
Tomorrow I'll stop wasting time online...

I'm just so tired today. It's been such a full day. It'll be easier tomorrow. I'll make the right choice tomorrow.  

The promise of tomorrow becomes a quietly whispered deception that we comfortably and knowingly choose to believe.  The truth is that who we are is never defined by the future choices we make in a dreamy, hopeful tomorrow but rather the immediate choices we make in the grit and toil and struggle of right now.

We can fool ourselves and think that we really desire change, that we really desire growth, that we really desire to do what's right. But we're choosing to be fooled. We know the difference, because we've experienced authentic desire and have seen how it actually spurs us on. True desire is when we're not only overwhelmed with wanting what's good, but when we want it badly enough to actually choose it and do it.  

For the past couple years my heart's been flickering with the desire to memorize Romans chapter eight. Flickering. It's one of those desires that comes and goes and I keep thinking I'll do it in one of the many tomorrows I presume I'll be given. 

I have an 88 year old friend named Don who's a grace-filled, dignified, holy man. He's also lighthearted and fun to hang out with. He's the kind of Christian who makes you intuitively happy you're a Christian. When you pray with Don, when you hear the words that flow from his heart to his lips, you know you're praying with a guy who knows His Father with an intimacy that you've not yet known. And you want it! You want the relationship that he has.

I was talking with Don recently, telling him how for a couple years I've been wanting to memorize the eighth chapter of Romans word for word, but just haven't gotten to it yet. Tomorrow, when there's more time. In a voice seasoned by grace and quivering with age, he began speaking from that chapter, a chapter that he'd memorized many decades ago but that has remained in his heart. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

The person that Don is at nearly 90 years old is the beautiful, textured culmination of all his yesterdays added together. That will be true for each one of us. That already is true for each one of us, at any age.

So before today joins all the yesterdays that have gone before it, will I choose what is right, what is best, what is fruitful? Or will I foolishly wait until things slow down--wait till tomorrow--before I start treasuring Romans chapter eight in my heart?

Because life doesn't slow down. It only speeds up.  
And as time speeds along, we have all these seemingly small choices along the way. Choices that on their own only add up to a few minutes here and there. But the minutes become hours become days become our life. And just like that--in a breath--the small choices we make determine who we become.  

There are ways we want to grow, change, and do better; there are ways that the person we hope to be tomorrow is different than the person we are today. But tomorrow is always elusive, always just out of reach. 

What's within our reach is the choice that is right in front of usDo I click on Facebook or do I open my Bible to Romans chapter eight? Because that one small choice becomes a thousand others like it.  
"Every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part that chooses, into something a little different than it was before." ~ CS Lewis
What is our hope in all this? When we see patterns of failure, of waiting till tomorrow, of delayed choice, do we have hope for any real change? 

Our hope is not in tomorrow.  
Our hope is not in today.  
Our hope is not in our ability to make the right choice. 

Our hope is in a sovereign God who created us with the ability to choose.
Our hope is in a loving God who gave us new hearts and new desires.
Our hope is in a patient God who supplies grace freely, abundantly, and faithfully. 

We believe these truths about Him, but the questions still linger. God, I've seen you do this in others, but will You do this for me? Will you provide the grace I need to choose what is right today? 

He isn't quiet. He has answered.
"He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" ~ Romans 8:32
He who did not spare His Son, will he not provide for us? With every choice before us, there is more grace than we could ever need. This day, will we choose what is right?