II — Living In The Present
There are two ways of living in the present.
One is to be forever worrying about and battling with unfinished facts, the appearances that do not satisfy us, as well as to be intimidated constantly by fears of things to come.
“The worry-demon casts its shadow across most lives. It blasts hopes, destroys happiness, interferes with restful sleep, undermines health and fosters self-destruction. It is responsible for shattered ambitions, blighted prospects and ruined homes. It has plunged its victims into vice and misery. Yet we tolerate and often encourage its existence. We worry and strain and toil, sometimes feeling that nothing can be accomplished without fretting anxiety. Many mothers feel and say that they are neglecting their duty to their children if they are not continually worrying about them. Housekeepers are apt to feel the same way about their homes; men, about their business; leaders about their responsibilities.” (Freedom from Fear by Richard Lynch)
Anyone who has read thus far in this book will know this is not the kind of present living that is followed under Grace. Anyone who has read thus far will anticipate that Christ Jesus’ Name in us does not advocate emulation of Cervantes’ Don Quixote who went around tilting at windmills on the slightest provocation—or without it.
Those who look to Grace will not want to be that kind of Quixotic people. When they sight a grim fact they will not feel impelled to jump on their emotional horse and ride full tilt at it. They will know no inner compulsion to go about lunging at problems of any kind; not of illness nor loss, nor pinching poverty, nor seeming threat to happiness, nor black disaster.
They will have no desire to be among those persons who, when a distasteful fact looms before them, with great gusto roll up their sleeves and fiercely and pridefully prepare to come to grips with it. This is the last thing the consciously beloved will want to do.
Yet it is interesting to note how often when we do not know—or forget—we are the beloved, we react in this way to a distressful fact. “Ha! A Fact!” we seem to gloat, “Let me at it!” We shall be at it—and it at us—if we insist.
Those who know they are beloved of the Father and the Son Apparent don’t want such a fact, they don’t want it anywhere near them. Knowing they are the dearly beloved they steal away from this would-be companion into His indwelling presence.
As the dearly beloved, they ignore the “plain fact”—until it’s transformed into something not so plain, something that’s at least good-looking—unless, of course, there is something that intuition tells them they can do, in word or deed, to furbish up its painful unattractiveness. If there is not, the spiritual strategy under Grace is to leave it alone, and haste to the secret place of the Most High—haste there and be safe and quiet and serene and confident and joyous by looking up to the Father’s Grace.
Surely the fact will be so surprised by such treatment that like the Arabs it will quietly fold its tent and steal away.
Then the dearly beloved of the Father and the Son Apparent are free really to live in the present; but not until then. For is it any kind of satisfying living that is filled with wrestling with cold facts? Of woe and lack—or fear of the future? That fear of future ills is so frightening to most people that it might just as well be a visible fact to harry the present. Like actual “grim realities,” it is dissolved in the light of the Grace that is faithfuly faced.
Again, this fleeing into Grace is something entirely different from the fugitive flight of escapism in which there is no escape. It is going to the upper chamber in our Jerusalem (consciousness of peace and love) and there, like the disciples of old, experiencing the “descent” of the Holy Spirit of the ascended Lord.
When Grace ”descends” and lifts its believers up
They are borne above the worries, fears, anxieties about the future
That so oft destroy the pleasure of the present.
By being heirs apparent to the kingdom full on earth Their brows no longer are sweat-stained and also deeply furrowed
By taking anxious thought for the safety of the morrow.
They have left behind that sorrow. Knowing God’s their Banker,
With His promissory notes all certified by the ascended Saviour Name in them,
For great wealth manifest they do not necessarily ’’hanker.”
They know that at the moment when good material things are by them required
By magic (?) these appear, from thence or there or here, Through His own perfect channels.
Giving richly of their talent in the work that they enjoy,
They are assured completely in communion oft with Him That their wants are lavishly supplied.
“Now is the only time in Spirit.” Now, in His Name,
With their own Good visible they are most strongly fast allied,
And shall be in each moment when tomorrow has become today.
For in joyfully accepting “all things now,” they do not need nor care
To have their dinner placed before them as they top their breakfast egg.
Something in the early morn that’s slimmer is the fare they crave,
But need not beg. “Give us this day our daily bread”—
And broken into meals in order—
This is that which stands them in such perfect stead.
Through His Grace they’re done with troubled thought for morrow.
They have no great umbrella stored to shed the next day’s, next year’s shower.
On their sky-line “debt” clouds do not lower.
When the dearly much beloved know the Father’s Grace
They are finished then forever with conniving and contriving
And desperate hard striving
To keep the wolf away.
Afar off surely does he know that their door’s not the place
To which for him to stray.
Having ears they’ve heard the Master’s soft persuasive lay,
And like the lilies that toil not and “neither do they spin,”
The beloved soil not (and so they do not “sin”)
By fear, anxiety and worry or hustle, bustle, hurry,
The perfection of His day.
And Solomon in all his glory cannot equal their array
Of Gracious Robes and Jewels of inner Peace and Good—
Which can be outpictured visibly as great wealth manifest
If, want that, they feel they should.
For did hot the Master,
In humor nice and subtle which admits of no rebuttal,
Say though it would be hard,
A man who’s rich materially still could enter heaven—
With the help of God? (St. Mark 10:27)
(A sense of humor is a precious thing, “God wot,”
And a saving grace to boot.)
All that is required of the dear and well-beloved
Is that their wealth shall not be heavy excess baggage
That causes eye with care for it to squint Or gleam with miser’s stony glint.
Heaven’s door on earth is narrow, oh exceedingly too slim,
To admit a poor benighted soul
Who will still consider that he’s a beast of burden.
All loads must be dropped, and can be in His Name,
So that heirs may enter in as free men
The stronghold of His faith, the castle of His Grace.
Those who realize that they are heirs apparent
Know then that they’ve done with windmills of trials and vicissitudes,
No matter how these may have seemed to them as they did to Don Quixote
A challenge to be met.
Their Don for them has done all tilting,
And left them naught but lilting—
Of His Grace.
Living in the present, with Gracious Means they know whereof.
They may believe His Highest “voice” and pleasant:
Sufficient to the day is the Grace thereof.
© 1947, Crichton Russ Boatwright