The Shack – William P. Young
(Jesus) Do you think humans were designed to live in the present or the past or the future?
(Mack) I think the most obvious answer is that we were designed to live in the present.
(Jesus) Now tell me, where do you spend most of your time in your mind – in the present, in the past, or in the future?
(Mack) I suppose I would have to say that I spend very little time in the present. I spend a big piece in the past, the rest of the time, I am trying to figure out the future.
(Jesus) When I dwell with you, I do so in the present, not the past, although much can be remembered and learned by looking back. But only for a visit, not an extended stay. And for sure, I don’t dwell in the future you visualize or imagine. Do you realize that your imagination of the future, which is almost always dictated by fear of some kind, rarely, if ever, pictures me there with you?
Have you ever been to an extended stay motel? I have. It was nice. There was a kitchen area with a real frig and a nice living room. The bedroom and bath were pretty standard fare. It was comfortable enough for visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.
I think that’s the grammar lesson from The Shack.
Past tense: There are many healthy reasons for revisiting the past: to gain understanding; to share lessons learned; to experience healing; to make amends; to grieve for what was and what wasn’t. But it isn’t a place to live, it’s a place to visit. The past is not designed for an extended stay.
Future tense: Peace is the litmus test for the future. There’s always pain and loss somewhere up ahead. What colors the strip is fear. It can be so easy to forget that the One who holds the future, will hold us when we get there.
Present tense: Have you noticed how hard it can be to keep your mind where your body is? That leaves us going through the motions, living somewhat thoughtlessly in the present.
Remember the past. Plan for the future. Dwell in the present. Anything less and we spend our lives either reliving or waiting to live.
It’s a simple grace filled grammar lesson.