«Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus» (Philippians 3:13, 14).
THE «THEN AND THERE» and the «here and now» are two moments in life. The «then and there» refers to the past, full of valuable experiences that are now just memories. Some are painful, others pleasurable. Some people who choose to live in the past stop dealing with what happens «here and now.» For the most part, we cannot forget the past, but we would do well to remember it in a positive way, focusing on the experiences that could be useful to us today. Thus, even a bitter recollection can become instructive to help us face the present.
Those who insist in remembering painful or unjust experiences soon begin to consider themselves as victims. If a woman assumes the role of a victim, she may soon renounce the exercise of her higher faculties until she misses the opportunities of advancement that life offers. A person might come to the point of refusing to live fully in the present, in order to keep «deserving» other peopl’s pity.
It’s common to hear complaints like this: «Everything that happens to me is the result of what I experienced in my childhood.» No one said that learning to live by tracing the origin of our traumas was an easy task. In fact, it’s not. The apostle Paul, in today’s text, emphasizes that such a task involves a valiant effort, doing in the present what needs to be done, to finally become what the Lord wants us to be.
I don’t know what your experience is, but I can be almost certain that, in this world full of evil, you haven’t always been on a «bed of roses.» The apostle presents three challenges in living a meaningful life:
The act of forgetting what is left behind requires the use of our intelligence to work with God’s help in overcoming those traumatic images that batter our minds and destroy our peace.
Striving to achieve what is ahead means to exercise conscious willpower to move forward in pursuit of future objectives.
Reaching the goal involves courage, faith, and the willingness to rise from our falls and continue to the final destination, the kingdom of
Today is your «here and now.» Live it with God, who is the One who helps you leave behind your «then and there.»