The Present Moment as a Desert Where You Are Alone With God

The Holiness of the Here and Now – Part 54

For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.

–Hebrews 13:14 (ESV)

Abandonment is the detachment of the soul from all things. In this condition, you are solitary and free. Your contentment and peace are found in loving the God who possesses you, and faithfully fulfilling the present duty, however his will makes it known to you. You do not have the luxury of overthinking and second guessing; you do not get to ask why, what for, or what next. It is enough for you to walk in the simplicity of pure duty, as if there were nothing in the world but God and this present obligation. The present moment is, for you, like a desert where you can see nothing but God himself, and where you enjoy him, concerned only with what he wants from you. Everything else is left alone, forgotten, abandoned to providence.

–Jean Pierre de Caussade

Jean Pierre de Caussade encourages us to see the present moment as a desert. But let us make sure we understand him. This does not mean that your circumstances are a desert. The world around you may be crowded and full of activity, more like a city. No, this is about how you evaluate time itself. Is the present moment valuable like a city: because it holds opportunity and promises change? In that case, the moment is useful as a bridge to other moments. And it is up to you, maybe with the help of God, to navigate to those other, better moments. But this is not how to appreciate the present moment. Rather, this approach all but guarantees that you will never be satisfied with any moment of life.

No, that city is a mirage. Its streets and signs promise to connect you to a larger system, which you can then take advantage of. But time does not work like that. Let that mirage fade away, and you will see the true value of the present moment, derived from God himself.

The Holiness of the Here and Now is a daily devotional that I am currently working on. When I am finished, there will be 365 chapters like the one above. Meanwhile, I am sharing this work-in-progress. Like the Facebook page to see content like this in your feed.