“When I grow up I’m going to be . . .” How many of us uttered those words, and how many of us are, today, what we dreamed of becoming then, when we were four or five years old? The daydreams of that age were far-reaching, if often unrealistic. Childhood idols were the topics of many a conversation, with the star-struck boldly and proudly declaring their future selves, often receiving as gifts all the appropriate accoutrements of their future livelihood. Before the discombobulation of our age, boys were supplied with firemen’s hats, cowboy hats, train engineer’s hats, astronaut helmets, guns, swords, capes, drums and the like and girls were supplied with dolls, dollhouses, mini kitchens, makeup kits, jewelry, and all things sparkly and/or cuddly. All children would raid their parents’ closets, dressing themselves in grown-up clothes, joyfully clomping around in over-sized everything with the greatest of discomfort and awkwardness (these were once called Kodak moments). These adorably innocent antics reached far into tomorrows with wild blue yonders ever beckoning.
A side effect of growing up is not the abandoning of these early dreams, but the infrequency of new ones. Looking forward gets gradually jettisoned, replaced with weighty day-to-day responsibilities, never-ending tasks, and burdening worries over finances. Those who continue to envision new and better futures are viewed as having pipe dreams (seen as a character flaw) and being not very responsible. After all, you know, sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
But a stunning characteristic of our salvation in Jesus is the glow of future glory that it puts on our faces. We celebrate the promise of our eternal home with him. The forgiveness of our sin and the stripping away of the weight of our disobediences, the messages of shame, the fear of punishment, all move us to worship in anticipation. In our newfound freedom in Christ, assurances of God’s unconditional love set us, once again, to reaching for the ‘Not Yet’ of the Kingdom in which we are now citizens. Of course, we groan living in the ‘Now’ but console ourselves that there is so much more to come. In fact, the ‘Not Yet’ is the encouragement and empowerment of our prayers which are, themselves, ‘reaches’ into the ‘Not Yet.’ (we pray, believing . . .) In this, we have a prime role model in Jesus who made the ultimate, incredible ‘reach’ into the ‘Not Yet’ by his sacrifice on the cross, his death securing freedom from the bondage of sin and access into his Kingdom for untold future millions, including us. Maybe this is what Paul means: “And consider the example that Jesus, the Anointed One, has set before us. Let his mindset become your motivation.” (Phil. 2:5, TPT) This might bring some needed color to the next twelve months of our journey to the Father’s heart, in this thing we call 2023. PD