Not yet


We have a grandson, three weeks old in another few short hours. Three weeks old.

The clock began ticking on those three weeks as he exited the womb. Just as the clock began ticking (retrospectively) as his conception – his fusion of others’ cells – took place in his womb. Or maybe that clock began ticking when two people came together and publicly proclaimed their love for each other. Or – maybe – it began ticking the moment they were each conceived in their different wombs. Maybe that was the moment which began the countdown to this moment of a “grandson” for us and a child for them.

And do these clocks all stop ticking the moment of our last breath – when our allotted time runs out? Or are we birthing another phase of living? Are these “three score years and ten” the end – or simply another connection in an eternity of life?

I asked the growing foetus when he would die. Two score weeks and two he replied. I asked the virgin sperm when he would die. I asked the virgin egg the same. Neither saw beyond the lifespan they lived.

And now I ask this three week old life the same. He answers not. His comprehension still the next ache in his stomach, the next evacuation, the next darkness of sleep. Days and nights not yet part of his consciousness.

Yet might something primal already ponder … “Is this all?”

And if my three week old grandson were to verbalise as we do – what would we reply – how would we speak … what words would we give that this precious bundle might know? For he knows not words or time as we do. He knows so little – yet. Yet will know so much – and then in a few short years will know again so little – and then in time – again so much.

Just not yet.

Yesterday a man of God spoke at length to me. And – just like our three week old grandson – this “man of God” does not see himself a man of God. But he explained the universe, the connections of living, and the growth of “Life”. I soared as he spoke. Of electrons within a brain. Of file sharing across the globe – connecting with fragments of files and the whole drawn together. Of the reproduction of music as small files. The years of exploring algorithms to package sound in transmittable files. Packages of more fragments. Incomplete yet complete. Years spent compressing the sounds of gigabytes in a few megabytes. So they might be shared. Heard. Enjoyed again and again. We spoke of how the universe is an “emptiness” – just as the table on which our coffees rested – that too a “molecular emptiness”.

The conversation ranged around “science and technology” … yet I heard God and he heard science and we both knew awe.

And then we talked of God and he heard religion. And religion is God who lets bad things happen. My Father so real to me is not his. Yet I see my God in him – my Father speaking through him.

This man of God? He is my brother who saw me as a “three week scrap of life” all those years ago.

What do we have in common? A mother and father. Grandparents. We share the birthing of our great grandparents and theirs before them. We share our connected families with their labels of connection – these families spread across this globe in countries near and far. What do we all have in common in this bond of “official connection”?

We have Love.

Love in many forms. Not just the slushy, touchy-feely, commercial “love”. In our family it is so much more (and so much less). Our connection is love and our love is more than connection. It is a bond.

So if you were to tell me we were not brothers …

Just because he does not believe in God as “we do” – because he is “not saved” as “we are” – because if he dies today he is “a sinner” – dammed for eternity …

Yesterday I saw his God – not yet birthed.

So now tell me again … why is it that you are are saved and he is not?

We have a grandson, three weeks old in another few short hours.

He is loved every minute of every day. Nurtured and protected. We will see him today – we will touch him today. Yet today he will not know any of that.

Not yet.

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24 thoughts on “Not yet

  1. It’s truly amazing when trying to comprehend the vastness of the universe or the seeming chaos of the subatomic realm or the entirety of creation that would be the size of a sugar cube if all the space between the actual substance was taken out. All of this only served to confirm my belief in our all-powerful God in a way that wasn’t communicated to me traditionally.

    • John, whenever I sit back and do the same I find my brain seemingly the size of a sugar cube and unable to process past a certain pain – and that point is always “wow” with a small “ouch” attached! 🙂

      To hear someone else verbalise that sugar cube was just “wow” and no ouch!

  2. Some cool thoughts here, Paul. Made me think of a couple of crazy things to add. 🙂

    You said “Yet I see my God in him – my Father speaking through him. ”
    Here’s a thought. If all things consist and are held together in Christ (Col.1:17), where does that put this man? Certainly, God can speak through him. Paul said that BEFORE he knew Christ, Jesus revealed Himself IN him (Gal.1:15-16)! Even the latest in physics is showing that everything is connected in the universe, whether you go infinitely inward or outward. There is no such thing as separation, as we know the word.

    And on our idea of time, again, crazy Paul seemed to think we were born again before we were born!

    “who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.” (2 Tim.1:9)

    So, time seems to be a temporary convenience for us who count hours and days and years. Crazy stuff! Blessings.

  3. “Yet today he will not know any of that.” This reminds me of the Emmaus road walk. All of us are on that walk (some not yet able to see) and He is right there with us… Congrats on your new grandson- what a blessing to hold a new baby in your arms 🙂

    • Hiya Julie – thank you! All through that conversation all I heard was “I don’t believe in a loving God like you do … not yet”. He was “right there with us”.

      And the new little one is gawjus!! 🙂

  4. “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” (Exodus 33:19) He decides, not we, the who and the how and the when and the why.

    Congratulations on your new grandson, and your brother who is receiving God’s mercy and compassion.

  5. Wow…wow…wow.! I think I needed to read that now, so timeous in my life at the moment. That last part, “Yesterday I saw his God – not yet birthed…He is loved every minute of every day. Nurtured and protected. We will see him today – we will touch him today. Yet today he will not know any of that.

    Not yet.”

    Brilliant piece of writing Paul. I’ve been pondering similar thoughts for the last few months. Amazing how God works.

    • Josh – thank you. I had to walk away for a while when I came to your comment here. Reading this post again, reliving that moment, seeing you give so much time to these posts, and then your comment itself – all of that stacked up inside and leaked out in a very “damp eye” moment!

      “Amazing how God works.” Yes it is. And Thank You for reminding me again so beautifully!

      • This post really moved me man, I’ve been praying for someone in my life everyday (someone who has not yet accepted the Lord)…that last part describes so much of how I’m feeling. How you can love someone from far off – through prayer (in my instance) and them not have the faintest clue of how you’ve been interceding for them. Interestingly, I only read that the post was called “Not Yet”…after reading through the whole thing. Now here’s the freaky part, the other day in passing – either during prayer, or when I had a fleeting thought of this person – I’m pretty sure I heard a whisper saying “Not Yet”. But I wen’t about my day as normal, not thinking much of it. Then, I stumbled upon this post today – and it moved me, then only later realising the title – and the situation you described as very similar to my own. So, yes beautifully amazing how God works. I even shared this post with a close family member of mine who knows what it is I’ve been praying for. Keep writing, Paul! 🙂

        • Josh, you got me again. I read this comment last night and filled up again (and am starting again now …).

          Everything you write just takes me straight to something very special – like a smell/odour bypasses and puts me back “there” (wherever it was). I have no explanation for that. It is the “freaky” of this thing we call “God” for me. And yet ..
          I read you words, your friend, your love, your concern your connection with them and this and here and Him and my reaction and I know this.

          You words are not just reaching your friend – they are changing me as well.

          Someone asked me to pray for one of their friends – whipping up a “prayer warrior circle”. Have to say – I am sceptical. Like “ganging up on God” is how we fix things? Odd thing though – I was skyping with this friend and their friend called on the phone with the medical results. They reported their test results were 100% clear – this was after tests had shown cancer. I had not appreciated we were talking a serious and life threatening “condition” when I was asked to pray. But my friend and the person “operated on” had both known exactly what was at stake. Why that moment for that call – right then – in “that moment”?

          But on the way to that “moment” I had my own learning about “intercession”.

          If we have free choice, then so has God. He must – or else all this “free choice and love” is no more than a charade. And if He has free choice, then perhaps we can “allow Him” as we “allow Him” – we need to ask Him because He always waits for our “invitation”. Perhaps that works in reverse in as well with “intercession” – that He will not force His “power of healing” on us without our asking – or without those who love us asking on our behalf.

          That intercession is not “intercession” – more an invitation in Love of Love for Love. And invitation to the free will of God (and maybe all wrapped up in that “eternity/time warp/now this moment” against that backdrop “stuff” that blows my brain fuses when I try and think it through).

          That intercession is Love. No more and no less. And that God responds to Love in the same way we do: with Love. And that has the power to change – always. Just sometimes “not yet” as we hope. I love the way you describe the connections. It connects!!

          Dear Josh – you are a really cool cat! You are teaching me something I have yet to fully – not yet – understand! Thank you. 🙂

          (keep writing!)

          • Thanks Paul! That is an amazing testimony, and so encouraging. So cool that the person being prayed for is 100% clear!

            I am learning a lot about intercession and have been receiving so many reassurances from God about what it is that I’ve been dealing with, struggling with and praying for. I want to share with you another amazing confirmation in reference to the power of prayer which interestingly also slots in with what you described in this post. I went to church the other night and there was a pastor doing a sermon on “Atheism”. This guy used to be an atheist himself as well as a radical political dissident in the UK many years ago. One day he met a lady who was one of his parents’ business partners from the US. In the sermon he used the word “burdened” to describe what the Lord had placed on her heart during the one instance in which she met him. She returned to the US and prayed for this guy everyday for many years. All the while he was seeking, had gone on mystical pilgrimages, was studying buddhism as well. At the temple where he was on pilgrimage, there were only two cassette tapes: one was the White Album by the Beatles (which was one he was very familiar with) and the other was an album by Bob Dylan (can’t remember the name now) which was recorded during Dylan’s Christian phase of writing. He listened to the Dylan album over and over, it was full of Christian exaltations (which was unbeknownst to him at the time). When he returned to the UK he got into an argument with a fellow atheist turned-Born Again Christian and in a spate of trying to win his friend back to atheism, he started reading the Bible as way of disproving it and disproving his friend’s new found faith. It was here, that he became intrigued by Jesus’ revolutionary ways. He later got saved himself.

            Many years later the woman who had been praying for him returned to the UK on a business trip and met up with this guy’s mother who told her that, “He’s one of these Born Again Christians now” and apparently the lady burst into huge exclamation and celebration. I found it funny at first, but then when we entered worship – I became a ball of tears. The pastor then encouraged us to, “Never give up on the people you love.” It was so beautiful, in that – I’ve been praying for this one person everyday probably for the last 2 nearly 3 months. And I agree with you fully, I think prayer/intercession is an invitation to God’s free will – I know now, even after reading your post that He does want a relationship with this person and is making it happen in as you say, wrapped up in that “eternity/time warp/now this moment” against that backdrop “stuff”. I’ve made peace now that I don’t understand the metaphysics of how God operates, but the beauty in that He wants and allows us to participate in bringing it about, within our finite understanding is amazingly beautiful.

            • WoW! What I find incredible – apart from all of this – is two days ago I never even knew you were you. And yet here we are sharing stuff so comfortably – stuff that resonates.

              “I’ve made peace now that I don’t understand the metaphysics of how God operates, but the beauty in that He wants and allows us to participate in bringing it about, within our finite understanding is amazingly beautiful.”

              I get fed up with the “expected” Amen brother – but in this case: AMEN BROTHER!

              He whispered to you “Not Yet” – He is whispering to me “Invite”. And I know what He means. But you must ask Him if this is for you …

              You write a post(s) – as you feel guided (I hope that is “plural”). Any subject(s) – any length. He is inviting you to write – and if right now your own blog (or another blog) is not the vehicle, then he says mine is. No edits, no rules, no anything other than you and Him and your preferences and “rules”.

              (and this is a first for me)

              Over to you and Him – I agree with Him: you have great power AND love in your words.

            • Thank you, Paul. Isn’t it just all so amazing. I have been feeling so encouraged and full of joy as of late – which is also something new for me in my life, in that I’ve just come out of a hefty time of trial and deep sadness. But to stumble upon this post and have it sit so neatly and so comfortably in where I’m at in my journey means the world to me…and I cannot only thank God for His amazing, wonder-working ways…which really confounds my intellect. If you’re feeling encouraged and motivated to keep writing, then so am I. “Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”…

            • Josh, He threw me a comment yesterday. This “writing invitation” I had offered? His comment was this:
              “What do you think you “listened to” earlier and loved? That was Josh “writing”. He already is and does – and you were touched by it. Any questions?”

              Sorry Josh! I love it (kind of) when He grabs my head and points it in the right direction!

            • Hahaha 🙂 Amazing! God is so good man! Reminds me of your other post, “Created to create…” I’ve learnt in my personal journey, that just the act of creating and expressing regardless of whether it is deemed secular or “godly” is an act of worship itself. When you enter into your creativity and just do it, it is rewarding in and of itself – it’s a hard notion to accept in this end-product driven world. Part of my journey with blogging is to delve deeper into the process of creativity and celebrate it for what it is, right there in that moment – nothing more, nothing less. It’s here where I feel most present. And really, Paul – your posts are so touching and here I am, a 27 year old man from South Africa engaging with someone I don’t know (but then, I kinda do). That is God’s grace in full effect if you ask me. 🙂 Keep going bro!

  6. I do not know you ..but I do… This is becoming a peculiar theme in my life lately.

    I sat one evening beneath a tall fur tree, hearing the evening breeze in the branches above and overlooking a bay whilst talking to God in the quiet places. I was 18yrs old at the time and wrapped up in His beautiful presence. In that eternal moment, I recognized my place in existence and the universe …that I didn’t have a place (a state of separation/distinction), as small and insignificant as I am, I was fearfully and wonderfully connected to all creation and connected to Him in a way I did not understand – not yet.

    We are fundamentally connected….I do not know you …but I do. We are never apart nor separate in time or space but alive in coexistence, all because of One who loves us…as insignificant as we are. It is poetry alive ..changing tone, changing texture – all at once.

    Your post and your conversation Josh/Paul resonates in me – each word an eternal brushstroke. It is motivated by Love. Thank you for sharing this with me Josh and for your beautiful post, Paul.

    This morning I interceded for someone whom I love. I love someone whom I’ve never met in person; someone I have mutually bonded with on a deep level that I don’t fully understand. He loved His grandfather dearly, who was Christian, and one of the most pivotal ppl in his upbringing. My love doesn’t know God personally, but he too is a man of God and doesn’t know it yet. I see the heart of God reflected in Him. There are many others like these – the fields are ripe for harvest; ppl of God that do not know Him yet; who are disillusioned with religion and the world. They mourn in their hearts and spirits for Him as we do yet they are not fully aware of their spiritual need – not yet. I think there is something to be said as God’s ppl to intercede on their behalf.

    I’m learning something new about love in this process and the meaning of interceding for others. The truth is that we can plant good seeds in prayer but Yahweh makes it grow. Moses interceded for Aaron and the Israelites, his motivation must’ve been love …..an expression of love named Moses reached out to the essence of Love, Yahweh.

    It is true that God expresses his free will – it is written repeatedly in His word. He is the hearer of prayer and likewise Jesus intercedes with the Father on our behalf. The motivation in all this is selfless love. For now, I’m grateful for the selfless love of the one who created me …for His Love even then when I didn’t know it – not yet. I’ll continue to intercede as an act of selfless love.

    Perhaps one day I will share this with the one I love – should Yahweh decide it’s the right time to draw him. For now, it is not known what will happen; how things will grow – not yet. But we can take comfort in that what is in His hands cannot be snatched out – Isaiah 43v13. He alone makes it grow.

    • Andrea – wow!

      “We are fundamentally connected….I do not know you …but I do. We are never apart nor separate in time or space but alive in coexistence, all because of One who loves us…as insignificant as we are. It is poetry alive ..changing tone, changing texture – all at once.”

      Josh and I “met” just two days ago though a comment on another post. Thousands of miles apart. And yet this conversation – deeper than with many I know face to face – “I do not know him – but I do”

      And then you opening comment – “This is becoming a peculiar theme in my life lately.”
      I can echo in mine. And in every case it is because “of One” – not just in these words here – but in others “connected” in their own lives. And then … here you are.

      I have become familiar with “the freaky”. I love “the freaky” He weaves. Always at a perfect moment not yet understood by me (always me) – but “freaky” enough to be for a reason. First Josh, now you. Happy confused and happy to be confused.

      For now (and I sense it is a “for now”) thank you. What He has in mind is still a “not yet” in my small brain! 🙂

      Thank you! “I do not know you … but I do,”

      Would you mind if I played with that profound statement. I also sense He has a post from one of us three with that as the title.

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