Now and Not Yet

I am excited to celebrate the New Year with glitter, sparkling grape juice, and the people I love. But beyond the party hats and sparkles, I have made it a personal tradition to reflect—through writing and prayer— on the past year and create goals for the year ahead. The past year has been transformative in my life and I have been overwhelmed with all the seeds God has been gently planting in my heart. 2017 will bring more change, opportunities, and challenges than I have ever experienced before. With the significance of this New Year, I’ve been asking God to keep reminding me of his faithfulness in 2016 and continue to guide me through the upcoming year.

God often uses our current circumstances to teach us about our faith and who He is. I am continually amazed by the creative ways God reveals his purpose for me. God is using this place in my life in a unique way, leading me one step of trust at a time. Despite the changes in my life, God always remains constant in the quiet ways He teaches me.

As I approach the New Year, I realize I am the rope in a tug-of-war game between 2016 and 2017. Eighteen is an awkward in-between year; many memories are ending while many are waiting to begin. Looking back, 2016 has been a gateway for me. This past year, I’ve entered a new chapter. 2016 brought the beginning of my senior year, my 18th birthday, and many new opportunities.  Next year, 2017 is going to bring high school graduation and the beginning of college which requires a move over 200 miles away from home. I’m leaving my last year full of normal behind in 2016 and faithfully trusting God for whatever He has planned for me in 2017. I’m looking forward to what is to come, but saddened by leaving home and many people and places I love.

In this anxious season of change, God has been showing me a tangible parallel to the “now— not yet” reality of my faith. God has brought me through many situations and taught me countless lessons in the past. However, at this point I feel like endless opportunities lie ahead of me. Similarly, God has already saved us—he has already given himself for us— but our bodies ache with yearning and anticipation for our heavenly bodies and God’s restoration.

The in-between rope of our life is being stretched between the eternal and the temporary. We have just celebrated Christmas, remembering that the baby, the Messiah, has already been born. We are living in the now of the fulfillment of God’s promise of Jesus with the peace of the Holy Spirit resting in our hearts. But we can’t ignore the longing in our hearts for more. We can’t forget the promises waiting to be fulfilled. Our souls anticipate the moment when Jesus returns to rescue his people. We desire the home in Heaven He has prepared for us.

Through this in-between season of my life, God has given me a new perspective of this concept of faith and salvation.

Describing the “now—not yet” of salvation, Dan Holcomb said,

“God calls us to become what he declares we already are.”

Isn’t this what life and faith are all about? We are God’s children, righteous and loved. We have done nothing to earn the names God has given us. Yet we are called to live and grow into those names. God has a purpose for us and our identity rests in Him. Yet we are called to fight for the truth He has spoken and follow Him in His promises.

At this crossroads of the New Year, Dan Holcomb’s words sum up my journey. I am becoming what God declares I already am. Becoming Emma is a journey of faith that continues until I breath my last. No matter what 2017 holds, that is my purpose, my focus, my resolution— to continue becoming the Emma God has declared I am. I will rest in the ever-faithful love God has displayed in the already while rejoicing in the hope of the not yet no matter how scary the future may seem.

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