FaithZette

Why God Wants Us to Trade Today’s Complacency for a Better Future

Noted Christian leader shares his daughter's precious question — and the answer Jesus gives us all

“How can you be in tomorrow when I am still in today?”

My five-year-old daughter’s voice revealed her excitement and disbelief when I made my first trip to Australia to preach at a conference.

My wife, Eva, had stayed home with the children, and the difference in our time zones — a whopping 19 hours — meant that my call to tell our kids good night at bedtime took place in the afternoon of the next day in Sydney.

“Well,” I said, “you remember how I showed you the way we can move the hands on the clock? And then we looked at the globe, and I showed you how the earth spins on its axis as it orbits around the sun?”

At the time, back before I left, I thought she understood — but suddenly I felt unsure.

I felt unsure, in fact, that I understood it anymore!

“I remember,” she said. “But I don’t see how you can be in the future and ahead of us here at home! Is it like ‘Star Wars’ or something?”

“Not really,” I said, trying to wind up the expensive international call. “I can explain it again once I get home, OK? Now brush your teeth and get in bed. Mommy will read your bedtime story, but I am going to pray with you right now.”

I prayed for my daughter and the rest of our family, keeping my prayer similar to what I usually prayed in Sacramento, California, to tuck her in. After our shared “Amen,” I said, “I love you! And I will be home soon.”

My daughter paused and said, “I love you too, Daddy. But I just have one question before we hang up.”

“What, honey?”

“What will the weather be like tomorrow? Is it raining where you are? Because if it rains tomorrow, then I want to make sure I find my galoshes tonight!”

Even though my daughter is completely grown now, that precious story still makes me smile.

And it reminds me of how God works in our lives.

The Gospel of John tells the story of how Jesus met a man who had been paralyzed for 38 years. The man would spend his days lying next to a pool called Bethesda, which an angel would touch every now and then, according to ancient belief. And whoever stepped into the water first was healed from any disease.

But nearly four decades had gone by, and the man hadn’t been able to seize the opportunity.

This is what John says happened next: “When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he asked him, ‘Do you want to get well?’ The sick man answered him, ‘Sir, I don’t have anyone to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up. While I’m trying to get there, someone else steps down ahead of me.’ Jesus told him, ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!’ The man immediately became well, and he picked up his mat and started walking” (John 5:1-9, ISV).

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Jesus had asked the man a simple “yes” or “no” question: “Do you want things to remain the same as yesterday — or do you want them to change?”

If the man at Bethesda had been content to remain paralyzed, his future would have mirrored his past. He would have continued to be a victim of the debilitating physical limitations that hindered his mobility.

Day after day, he would have remained a familiar figure there at Bethesda, watching others become healed upon entering the pool right after the angel stirred its waters — lying on the ground, crawling like a worm, and never moving fast enough to receive the healing splash.

God’s Word makes it clear that He wants to do amazing things in our lives — if only we will let Him.

When we encounter Jesus Christ, He draws a line between our past and our future; those two will never be the same. When we accept His invitation to be healed and to stand up and walk by faith, we no longer know what our future, which once seemed so bleak and predictable, will be like.

It will actually exceed anything we can imagine or make happen for ourselves. But it all starts with our willingness to engage with the present, relinquish the past, and receive the future God has for us.

Our future matters to God, and what He has called us to do can be accomplished by no other.

God’s Word makes it clear that He wants to do amazing things in our lives — if only we will let Him.

This article by Rev. Samuel Rodriguez is based on his new book, “You Are Next: Destroy What Has Paralyzed You and Never Miss Your Moment Again” (Charisma House, 2019), and is used by permission. Rev. Rodriguez is a best-selling author, pastor, film producer and the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, the world’s largest Hispanic Christian organization.