By Femi Aribisala
Idle men work tomorrow. Fools repent tomorrow. Tomorrow is the devil’s today.
The Lord once said to me: “Femi, thank me that nothing lasts in this world.”
It took me some time to process this strange information. But, on reflection, I came to understand exactly what he meant. It is of the mercies of the Lord that everything in this world is temporal. Thank God, everything about this world is subject to change. But everything about the world to come is permanent.
Otherwise, if you were to hurt your knee, for example, the pain would endure for a lifetime. But as soon as you hurt your knee the pain starts to recede. It does not last.
God drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden because he did not want their sinfulness to be permanent. Had they eaten of the tree of life after the fall, there would have been no room for redemption. They would have remained sinners forever.
Therefore, it is important to understand the dynamic of the times and the seasons. Is it a time to weep, or a time to laugh? Is it a time to gain or a time to lose?
When Gehazi sought gratification from Naaman for being healed of leprosy, Elisha asked him: “Is it time to receive money and to receive clothing, olive groves and vineyards, sheep and oxen, male and female servants?” (2 Kings 5:26). So when would the right time be?
A believer should have a spiritual wristwatch. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees because they could not discern the times. (Matthew 16:2-3). He also wept over Jerusalem because the people did not know the time of the Lord’s visitation. (Luke 19:41-44). When it is raining, we know it is time to sell umbrellas. When there is a petrol shortage, it is time to increase the cost of transportation. But do you know God’s timing? Don’t you know God has made all things beautiful, but only in his time? (Ecclesiastes 3:1).
At the inauguration of his ministry, Jesus proclaimed “the acceptable year of the Lord.” He declared it was the year of the Jubilee. This is like somebody coming to church today and saying: “I have come to declare that today is Christmas. Indeed, as from today, every day is now Christmas. This prophecy is hereby fulfilled in your hearing.” What does this mean?
Time of need
It means with God it is now a question of need and not of timing. Our needs are now able to turn the hands of the clock. What do you need? Come boldly before the throne of grace. Ask and you will receive. (Hebrews 4:16).
At the wedding in Cana of Galilee, Jesus was not inclined to perform any miracles. He told his mother, it is not yet the time for miracles: “My hour has not yet come.” (John 2:4). But the needs of the wedding party brought the time forward. It conflated the future into the present. Although the hour for miracles was not yet, nevertheless Jesus turned water into wine.
Jesus told a Canaanite woman who asked him to heal her daughter: “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” He went even further: “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” (Matthew 15:24-26).
This kind of response is more than enough to discourage the average person. But the woman refused to be denied. It might not be time but it is time. The grace of God must make it the time. Jesus himself says: “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” (Matthew 11:12).
The violent take it by force whether it is time or not. Therefore, the woman persisted and Jesus could not resist her. Her daughter was healed from that very hour.
Now is the time
Jesus said to the Samaritan woman by Jacob’s well: “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship him.” (John 4:23).
This is a wonderful dynamic of the kingdom of God. “The hour is coming and now is.” Although the time is coming, if you stretch your faith it is already here. There is no distance in the spirit. The spirit does not operate in time. The spirit operates in eternity. The believer is required to operate both in time and in eternity. He or she has all the time in the world. But at the same time, he or she has no time at all.
We have no time to waste. Are you careful with the way you spend money? Well then what about time? Time is one of the most precious things the Lord has given us. How do you spend your time? How much time do you have? It is imperative to be time conscious. Jesus said: “I must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.” (John 9:4).
As children of God, we belong to the “Now Generation.” This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek God; who seek the face of God. (Psalm 24:6). For us, “now is the accepted time.” Behold, now is the day of salvation.
Jehovah means “I AM.” Not past, not future, but present continuous. God moves today. He heals today. He delivers today. He blesses today. You don’t need to book an appointment.
When the church in the wilderness failed to enter the Promised Land, God delimited a certain day for believers to enter into his rest. That day is today. It is now. (Hebrews 4:7-8).
The scriptures enjoin us to exhort one another, while it is still called today. (Hebrews 3:13). Moses said to the Israelites when the armies of Egypt were pursuing them: “Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever.” (Exodus 14:13).
The promises of God in Christ are all now available today. Abraham had to wait for us, but we are here now. The windows of heaven are now open perpetually. These are now the times of the latter rain.
Jesus told Zaccheaus: “Make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” (Luke 19:5). Not tomorrow and not next week. He said to the thief on the cross: “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43).
Idle men work tomorrow. Fools repent tomorrow. Tomorrow is the devil’s today. The devil is not bothered about your good resolutions, as long as you fix them for tomorrow. As long as you say you will stop drinking tomorrow, or stop smoking tomorrow, or start fasting tomorrow, the devil is pleased. As long as you are focused on tomorrow, you will fail to meet the challenges of today.
“Therefore,” says Jesus, “do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:34).