We come now to another pair of opposites which “cannot separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord”: “nor things present, nor things to come” (Rom. 8:38). This pair has perhaps the most devastating power of them all—it separates more people from the love of God in Christ than any other factor or factors in human living. Things present and things to come refer to things that happen in the stream called time—present and future. Things present become so absorbing that they control us. They suck us dry by their demanding attention. The everyday things of life rob us of life. We become thing-possessed and happening-possessed instead of life-possessed. These things control us; we do not control them. Things present are on top of us; we are not on top of them.
Jesus put His finger on this danger when He said, “But take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life” (Luke 21:34). He asked us to be watchful of ourselves at two points: at the place of dissipation and drunkenness—the sins of the flesh, and at the place of “the cares of this life”—the sins of the disposition. He said that they both weigh us down. Dissipation and drunkenness are attempts to lift the burdens of life—to forget them, to escape from them. Jesus saw, however, and life is increasingly seeing, that the more you try to escape from life the more burdensome life becomes. The more stimulants you take the more depressed you are. Sleeping pills, in the end, produce sleeplessness. It is all a losing game. You become weighed down by your very attempts to lift the weights of living. Pleasure-seeking is the great illusion. It is an illusion for it eludes. You grasp at the lurid colors of the sunset and find you’ve grasped the dark. You are weighed down with disappointment.
O Jesus, Thy realism punctures with a word our illusions. When we take Thy realism we live in a world of reality—with real pleasures, real joys, real life, and with no hangovers. We grasp the sunset and find it a dawn. I thank Thee, thank Thee. Amen.
AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY
All the things intended to lift me depress me. He lifts me and keeps me lifted!