Eating Meatballs With God

Last night my wife made meatballs. They were tasty! Our five year old boy was excited. “Meatballs!!!!!” he exclaimed. As she was portioning out the food to make sure we had enough for tomorrow, she mentioned he was getting 6 meatballs. His excitement turned to concern. “aw… I wanted 7”. He said it again when he heard no response. He was now sad. As he ate his food he kept mentioning how hungry he was and how desperately he needed more meatballs. (of course he was stuffed before he could finish what he was initially given).

If you have any experience with a 5 year old, you know the number does not matter. If she had promised 4 meatballs, he would have wanted 5. If she had mentioned 20, he would have needed 21. But what we can all relate to, even us seasoned adults, is that he did not enjoy his food while he ate because he was preoccupied with what he didn’t have.

Some of us are better about this than others, but I know many adults who still struggle with enjoying what they have and living in the moment. It’s this latter part that is more universal. Living in the moment. Forgetting the past and using the time given to you as you get it to make the most out of life.

We spend so much time idolizing or regretting the past and so much time worrying about or trying to expedite the future, we spend very few moments living in the present. The problem is that God doesn’t promise us an earthly future and He doesn’t care about our past. So the only thing we have that can connect us to God is the now. The moment we live in where we actually have the ability to be Christ-like (Christian).

We can’t connect to God through our past decisions, even the good ones. God doesn’t hold a grudge, He will accept us as we are, but He also doesn’t accept yesterday’s version of you. Our walk with Him isn’t a decision made in the past, its a constant, life changing, on going, daily, adventure where we live and breath while basking in the presence of our Savior.

We can’t connect to God through our future. It hasn’t happened. We can’t control it. We can’t make it happen quicker. The future is futility. Each moment passed is another future moment just out of reach. Tomorrow simply becomes tomorrow the next day. Even worse, Not only do we still have a tomorrow after tomorrow, but now we have another yesterday to pile on that we will likely regret or overly cherish.

So when do we enjoy life? When do we commune with our Lord? When are those moments that build up a fruitful and successful life? We miss them so often because they are so rare. Not rare in quantity but extraordinarily rare in our ability to choose them. They are the moments we have. The time that is given us. The present. The now.

We are given them every day. We have one right this minute. But when we fervently try to refuse the moment, it goes un-lived. Our nose is stuck in the rear view mirror while our foot has the gas peddle mashed in. We live only for the future while trying to change the past. We can’t serve two masters. We can’t live in two time frames at once.

This is not a new struggle. We have been cautioned to ‘stop and smell the roses’. But we have sped up. Stopping isn’t enough anymore. We need to get out of the car. Its the notion that we have control. We can back up and move forward at will and with great speed. And while we think we are having an effect while doing that, all we really accomplish is spinning the wheels over every useful moment until they become yet another regret in our mirrored past.

This might all make sense if our God who became man was still buried in a tomb. It would be fitting that people who seemingly worship the past would be the followers of an ancient god that once lived but now rests in a sealed crypt forever. We could ponder what he once was and how it could have been.

But since we are the followers of a risen King… a living God… our monument’s door is open and the insides are kept, clean, and EMPTY… so, past tense doesn’t really work for us. He wasn’t god… He is God. He is alive. And so our worship is to Him. It is with Him. Now. Today. Right now.

Our minds have become tombs of their own. Past conversations… what I should have said, what I would do if I had the chance, how I felt. They aren’t just full of regrets, but feelings, memories, expressions. One of the first things we need to do as we don the label of Christian, which means Christ-like… the first thing we need to do to resemble Jesus… is to blow the door off our own graves and let out the past.

Free it. Let it go. That isn’t us anymore. We can’t be the transformed person God wants us to be if we are clinging to the past. We can’t be renewed if we are prisoner to our mistakes and missed chances. Through Jesus, we have died to that life. When we climb out of that mausoleum, we are faced with the now. The moments that actually matter… the ones that contain that magical ability to live. To actually live free from regret and worry.

This is when we can grasp the Savior’s hand and walk with Him. And when we do that, there is no fear or worry, because our future becomes every waking moment, thoroughly enjoyed and gracefully lived to the fullest. This is where we can taste the meatballs and enjoy them in the moment. No taxes, no root canals, no bills, no traffic… just savory goodness.

Because this moment right here… it’s all we have… and it’s where God is. He isn’t in the worry over things not seen, and He isn’t found in the regret. He wants to eat meatballs with you, but we have to rise to our new life in this open, unclaimed moment and pick up the fork with thanksgiving.

We can all shovel food down our throats and effectively accomplish the task of eating. Each of us knows how to breath and we can turn oxygen to carbon dioxide with the best of them. But that doesn’t mean we are LIVING. The living God left his tomb behind. We are meant to join Him.

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

I Regret This

The notion that God can do more is something we need to work well within the fabric of our daily lives.  One of the most tragic offenses I believe we make to the Creator is that we simply don’t expect enough.  We limit Him. 

It’s often seen as a lack of faith and while it may not stifle His abilities, it certainly cripples the effect of His gifts in our lives.

We pray that God heals cancer when we could be asking God to heal the entire body, cleanse the soul, give supernatural gifts, and spread His name to generations through this event. 

Peter had faith… at least for a moment.  When He saw Jesus walking on the water, he cried it out.  I want in on that!  Let me do that with you…. and he did. 

And I think that is a good explanation for our troubled times.  We are content to not get in the water with Him.  We let Jesus do the water walking and we will stay and guard the boat. 

Peter was on to something.  The problem with the boat is that Jesus isn’t in it.  He is walking on the water.  He is turning over tables in the temple.  He is boldly sharing His Father.  He is headed for the cross.  All of those sound scary don’t they?  Is that why Peter sank?

When he saw the waves and took his eyes off Jesus was it because he realized what his request really meant?  He exclaimed, ‘I want to follow you’, but he didn’t really want to go where Jesus was headed. 

I think ‘more’ scares us.  We don’t want it.  We want our current lives, but just better.  Jesus calls us to reject what we have and take on something new.  And that is a difficult thought to consider. 

We struggle with the math of ‘more’.  We think in terms of our current understanding.  “I can’t change the past” is something we often bemoan.  At best it means We are going to quit stressing over something we can’t control, but often its an exhausted exclamation of regret. 

Just like our weak prayers, we throw it off to the side and maybe ask for forgiveness.  We completely drown out the whispers of God beckoning us to ask for more.  No, God won’t change the past, but he can do better than that.  He can do more than that.  He can empower us to explode towards a better future. 

He can take that static past and use it for good.  He can mold us through it, He can touch lives with it, He can bless in spite of it.  When we properly understand our relationship with God, we can understand why the Bible would say ‘do not dwell on the past’. 

Jesus was frustrated at the comment that Lazarus would not have died had Jesus been there.  They simply didn’t expect more.  They were living in the past.  The moments that they couldn’t control were the culprit.  It was about what Jesus could have done or where He should have been… not what He could do right now. 

Our God creates.  Our God heals.  He calms, teaches, loves, protects, and blows the doors off tombs.  We can agree with scripture that He has defeated death… but we just can’t believe that our tomorrow can be better.  We are certain that our mistakes and trials are life defining. 

Sigh!  Can you hear the desperate exhalation from God?  Why won’t you ask for more?  He won’t change that thing you did, or even the stuff that has happened to you… but He can lift you above the waves.  He can do so much better, so much more, than our simple desires to undo the unwanted events of our lives. 

When the disciples of Jesus sat in prison, they didn’t asked to be removed from jail… they brought Jesus into captivity with them.  When Jesus hung from the cross, He didn’t say, ‘get me off of this thing’, He chose more.  An end to His pain wasn’t enough.  He could do better than that.  So, instead, He prayed ‘Father forgive them’. 

Nails through His veins and He thought of us instead.  Can we begin to comprehend that we are the ‘more’ to Him?  He wants us.  Praise God Jesus didn’t look to the past while He was on the cross.  The lies, the greed, the disobedience.  I believe He looked ahead.  ‘This is for them’, He must have thought.

Do we honestly believe that the God who turned His tortured Son into eternal joy for those who killed Him… Do we think He can’t use our pain for something better tomorrow?  Why regret yesterday when God can do ANYTHING today?