Recently I was preparing for a message and I kept seeing the picture of a very old (but now, thanks to a resurgence of all things vintage, not so old) record player turntables. The picture was of that moment when the needle hits the record placed on it.
As a child, before we owned headphones, my family had an old turntable with a set of stereo speakers. As a kid I would lie underneath it and listen to the music, fascinated by this magical needle with a diamond on the end that created this wonderful music I would enjoy.
In my vision, my focus was always drawn to the needle. At the end of the sound box, that needle is the only thing that connects to the vinyl and in that spot and that spot alone the magic happens – nowhere else on the circle of vinyl just there in a continuous sense.
It made me think about how there is only one place and one time that God speaks to us and that is right here and, right now.
God lives in the eternally present, and the eternally present is right here and right now.
It is in the here and now that heaven touches earth, and it is the only place and time where it ever does. But often that is not where we are focused.
In John five Jesus goes to the pool of Bethesda and spoke to a man who had been stuck there for thirty-eight years. It was a special place where the Jews saw miracles happen when the waters of the pool became agitated. The first person to make it into the water would be healed, according to legend. Interestingly enough Jesus did not comment on the veracity of this shrine, but instead presented himself before the man and asked “Do you want to become well?” In the eternal now, Jesus Christ stood in front of this broken person and offered wholeness.
Amazingly the man missed the whole question, the whole point, and the whole person in front of him. Instead he wistfully replies “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up. While I am trying to get into the water, someone else goes down there before me.” He is stuck in the past.
How does one miss Jesus Christ? Well, I think I have missed Him often by being similarly locked on the wrong moment or memory — living in regret of the pas and the “if I had only”’s. Regret over the past is not a place or time in which God speaks. He speaks here and now. Think of that needle and it’s specific continual action in one spot only.
God does not speak in the regret’s of the past because the past is gone, covered by the blood of His son, and is actually no longer real.
Another regular focal point for many of us is fear of the future, the terror of the “what if?” In this place we will never hear the voice of God either, for the future is as unreal to Him as the past. He lives in the eternally present.
If we are living like the man at the pool in the regret of the past, or in the fear of the future, we cannot hear from God, for He only speaks to us in one place and time, and that is here and now.
Have you been missing him? He is right here, right now, asking you if you want to be made whole. And if you will look to Him he will do a miracle in you. He will speak to you and place eternity in you and then you will be able to hear him, always. He will heal your wounds and grant you His Love and friendship. He has died and has risen that you might be free from the regrets of your past and the fears of your future. He calls you to the here and now, the eternally present, and He is speaking to you, can you hear Him?
The sweet thing about the Bethesda story is that through his confusion, and drawing him into the present, Jesus commanded healing. The man was immediately transformed and began to live and move and have his being in the same space as the Son of God.
When you hear his command of love, stand up and join Him in the here and now of Life abundant. He is waiting.