I had a sad moment this week.
We had our real estate agent come to our condo to take a look as we begin to think about selling our place. We’ve lived in only a few places since we got married 32 years ago, and by far, this is our favorite. To think of selling this place fills us with some sadness, even though we know it’s time.
Honestly, sometimes I want to be able to inhabit more than one place at a time.
I’m glad I had just read Adam Ramsey’s book Faithfully Present: Embracing the Limits of Where and When God Has You.
Ramsey talks about the two kinds of limitations that all of us face: location and time. We only live in one place out of 4.3 million unique towns and places on Earth. We are currently living in this specific moment among all the past and future moments. Our lives are short, and we will soon be forgotten. We can’t transcend our time and place. God calls us to be faithfully present in our time and place for his glory.
Ramsey’s book is not one that taught me anything new. Instead, it’s a book that reminds me of a Puritan work. It takes a couple of significant thoughts and turns them over slowly in our minds, teasing out the implications in a way that can change our lives. Ramsey deals first with the limitations of being limited to one time. I liked this section, particularly when he discussed topics such as regret, changing seasons, rushing, and the feeling that time is passing quickly.
The second section — place — is also timely for me. I’m leaving one place for another; I live in a body; I can maintain a limited number of relationships.
Ramsey’s book couldn’t have been a better one for me to read. I get the sense that most of us are wrestling with these issues. Ramsey helps us recognize our finitude and find hope in the gospel.
Do not lament the shortness of your days or the changing of the seasons. Do not despair that you cannot freeze the best moments in time. Instead, press on in the power of the Holy Spirit, fully and gratefully alive to the short life God has given you. Receive each day as the limited-edition gift that it is. God does not promise you tomorrow. But he does promise you, in Christ, an everlasting life in his never-failing love.
My Interview with Ramsey
I was privileged to talk to Ramsey about his new book. Something happened in the interview that doesn’t happen often; I don’t know if you will pick it up if you listen to it. Ramsey applied the gospel in real time to the issues I raised in my questions. I found myself feeling challenged and encouraged by his responses as he applied the gospel to my soul.
So here’s the interview. It marks the beginning of a new season of the Gospel for Life podcast. You can find it on your favorite podcast platform. You can also find the show notes and transcript below. I hope you enjoy it.
- We’ve always struggled with the temptation to transcend our limits, but technology gives us new opportunities.
- We need to live in reality, appreciate the ordinary, and find glory in the present moment. No more chasing constant "mountaintop experiences."
- Living in the here and now means glorifying God in our current circumstances and surroundings.
- Slowing down and finding rest amidst the chaos of our hyperconnected world is essential for our well-being and productivity.
- Remember, God is always present with us, even in the midst of the most challenging times or seasons of life.
We all have an idea in our minds of how we think life should go, and then real life happens.
“We’ve only tasted the entree, the hors d'oeuvres of the fullness of life in God. We have the fullness of that life yet to come as the Kingdom of God breaks into this world, as the new creation becomes a new permanent reality.”
“You're not awesome. You're loved, and that's awesome.”
“While we should absolutely pray for and enjoy such mountaintop experiences with God, we need to, as pastors, we need to teach our people of the glory of the ordinary, the glory of plodding, the joy of simply being attentive to the life, the relationships, the geographic spaces that we inhabit, and to go, What does it look like to glorify God here in this space?”
“The one thing that we owe absolutely to God is never to be afraid of anything.” (Charles de Foucauld)
- Faithfully Present: Embracing the Limits of Where and When God Has You
- Truth on Fire: Gazing at God Until Your Heart Sings by Adam Ramsey
- The Imperfect Pastor by Zach Eswine
- Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio
- Honor: Loving Your Church by Building One Another Up by Adam Ramsey
Download a PDF transcript of this episode.
More from Amazon.com