Rev. John Farmer’s ‘Reflections’ column

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Tomorrow, tomorrow…

 Tons of depression, our unresolved frustrations, and even over-stressed experiences are the result of our major investment in the present, coupled with too many over-shoulder glances at troublesome times that lay behind us.

God is in the opportunity business. It requires a concentrated effort on our part to place ourselves in the will of God. At times, it truly means that we are to accept things as they are—and move on. To do this, we have to establish a comfort level with God. It also means that we have to walk by faith. We have to trust.

Why do the words fall so freely from my lips? It is because I really do believe that God loves me, and no matter the depth of my depression, nor the length of my despair, he awaits an invitation into every process, every event of my life.

When God is invited in, things take on a new perspective. We are not alone in our problems anymore. With God as our partner, we can mature any present or future difficulty. We can learn and profit from our mistakes. We can grow in grace by accepting life matter-of-factly. No matter how long we live, our path here is a short one. If you are in my generation or ahead, you’ve been taught this lesson already.

One of the hazards of youth is that enthusiasm and impetuousness clouds our vision. Too heavy an investment in our present robs us of the joy of our future. Little Orphan Annie sang a song that we should consider appending to our hymnals: “The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow.”

Oh, by the way, did you know that Dr. McGrath’s nurse Laura sang that song on stage at Heathsville and the Broadway Palace Theater, NYC?  ICYCC golfer Rob Pittman was one of four witnesses. How does it go again?

Yes, I know…“the journey of a lifetime begins with one step.” We need the courage of God’s investment in us to take that next step. Many times, that’s all we need to do. Once we are moving again, and living again, everything else improves. Planting our feet, dwelling in the valley, causes much of our suffering. In Psalm 23:4, we are encouraged to go through the valley, not pitch our tents there. Life is about tomorrow and then tomorrow, until finally we are launched into our eternal tomorrows from which we will never want to depart. Trusting the God of our tomorrows takes us there.

There is a wonderful picture, The Light of the World (ca 1851-53) by English artist William Holman Hunt; one finds it often on church bulletin covers, and Sunday School walls. It is of a patiently kind Jesus raising his arm and hand to knock upon a garden gate. It is a gate latched from the inside. The picture is based upon Revelation 3:20: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, [then] I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me.”

How true the picture, for Christ is always at our door. Unlike some familiar friend, some doting relative, he never shouts “yoo-hoo” and barges in. He stands and waits and waits and waits an invitation.

That portrait, of who one imagined Jesus might have looked like, captured the essence of faith. No matter how good, or how bad things are inside, he does not enter unless made to feel like a welcome guest.

To accept Christ into our lives is to let him participate in them fully. Everything changes. Our depression can be lifted; our stress is eased. And you know what? Sometimes our problems don’t even go away. God through Christ equips us, to labor through the most difficult of situations.

Occasionally, I suffer a blow from the receipt of some bad news which causes me to wrench my hands apart, wringing, folding and unfolding them. I raid the kitchen to find something naughty to fill my belly and make me feel good. It doesn’t.

I turn in for the night and wrestle the bed for hours. Then, I do what I should have done first. I get up to say my prayers, exercise my faith. I tried to shoulder the burden alone. I confessed my lack of faith, and my display of mistrust. I give the problem to God as my sacrifice for the day. I thank him for being my savior. The problem did not abate—rather, I found peace of mind and courage to carry on. How many times would you suppose I will learn this lesson? This I know: God never tires of waiting upon me to realize my dependency upon him. What a God. What a friend!

One night recently, I went to bed; outside, it was raining torrents. I dreaded getting up to a dreary day with a heavy heart. Praise God, I didn’t have to. My coffee-washed body, and my tear-sprayed countenance was rewarded by the sun peeking through at dawn. “Tomorrow, tomorrow the sun will come out tomorrow…” The valley is in my past.

Look toward the horizon; it gets better as a new day approaches. Do you know the Lord of our new day?

I would like to dedicate this article to my Irvington friend, chef Michael Knapik, who has also proven to be a friend of Santa’s (it is getting to be that time, eh?). Thank you.