Living in the Future
For many people in our culture, life has become so filled with the “if-onlys” of the future that today becomes an inconvenient obstacle in the path of reaching tomorrow. As Walker Percy observed in his novel Lancelot, “To live in the past and future is easy. To live in the present is like threading a needle.” During most of our lives, we have a natural tendency to dwell in the future by investing our energies in goals and accomplishments we hope to achieve in the days ahead. The problem is that even when we are able to attain these ends, we are already thinking of the next one down the road. Thus, by moving from product to product, we are rarely alive to the realities of the present. We are fully capable of doing this for decades, but there eventually comes a point where the days ahead are few and the memories behind are abundant. At this point, many people make an unconscious switch to living in the past instead of the future.
From a biblical perspective, our fundamental choice should be to know and become like the Lord Jesus, and this in turn should shape our primary and secondary choices in life. This fundamental choice is compatible with living in the present, the only point at which time intersects eternity. This aspiration animates our present, makes us alive to the process of daily experience, and informs our planning.
By contrast, an unbiblical, fundamental choice (whether by default or by design) will never satisfy us because it will not address our deepest need as a people created to know and enjoy their Creator. In this situation, our lack of contentment in the present will delude us into thinking that it will be found in the future—hence, product-to-product living.