(Originally published 2/18/2019)
“From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere!”
Dr. Suess penned a lot of clever lines such as the one above, but while his books are great fun to read, they cannot always be universally applied. I think we can all agree that sometimes in life, funny things are definitely NOT everywhere. In fact, in some seasons it can be hard to find a reason to smile, much less laugh.
When we think about the “here and there” of life, we can get tripped up both ways. Sometimes we are so caught up in the “here” that we cannot even envision a future that would look any better. Situations, circumstances, and people can cause us to feel stuck, and all hope of change goes right out the window. On the other hand, we can also get caught up in the “there” pattern of thinking … things will get better LATER, I’ll be happy THEN, and I can’t wait UNTIL. This is also a bit of a trap, because we are tempted to ignore where we are and what changes might need to be made. We are too busy consoling ourselves with the promise of a brighter future.
In her book Dare to Lead, Brené Brown describes this as “gritty facts and gritty faith.” Somehow we need to balance the two, the gritty facts about our current reality combined with gritty faith for the future. Failure to recognize our current mess and our possible role in causing it means we may repeat the same mistakes in the future, and we may be hurting ourselves and others without realizing it. But failure to look ahead with hope and expectation means we may give up entirely and therefore not take the necessary steps toward positive change for a positive tomorrow.
So how in the world do we connect “here and there?” Psalm 119:105 offers us some help: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” I love the balance found in this scripture. First of all, God’s Word is described as a lamp to our feet. Holding a lamp does not shine light beyond the immediate spot. It casts a glow only in the area of our feet, our current step. It keeps us aware of any sticks or stones that threaten to trip us up. It allows us to stand in boldness and confidence right where we are. But God’s Word also shines a light to our path. It’s like a flashlight that shows us what’s up ahead and gives us a sense of direction. The best part about all of this is that the two exist simultaneously. You don’t have to choose!
The lamp of God’s Word shows us where we have made mistakes and guides us in what needs to change. I’m amazed how often I read a particular scripture and feel certain it was written just for me on just that particular day! The Bible also corrects us by pointing out ways we have been sinful or selfish. It offers us a chance to say that we’re sorry, that we’ve been wrong, that we apologize and want a chance to do it better. And best of all, the Bible repeatedly offers us the power of God inside of us to help us take the next step and get ourselves “unstuck.”
But the light of God’s Word … that’s where we find hope and grace for the future. The promise that we can change and things can change, but that God never does! The Bible helps us to make decisions that impact our future further down the road than we can see with our natural eyes. It offers the promise of better days ahead if we will believe God for it and ask Him to help us get from “here to there.”
Here and there … next time you read your Bible, I encourage you to ask these two questions and listen for God’s response. “What do you have to say about my here, and what do you have to say about my there?” Allow God to shine His light of truth and give you gritty facts and gritty faith to help transform your todays and your tomorrows.