A chap phoned me yesterday, anxious yet again about his fears for the future. He was in an uncomfortable situation where those around him annoyed him. He has endured the difficulties for the past year and often called on me for encouragement, prayer and support.
Because the problem is lingering with no breakthrough he has begun to look into the future and just how unhappy that could be. With no change, what is ahead? If things change for the worse, what would that mean? How much longer could he keep on going without some improvement? And so on.
Yesterday’s phone call started with the man outlining all his fears for what could possibly go wrong in the future. I immediately thought of Jesus’ command that we are not to take thought for the problems tomorrow presents.
“Take no thought for the morrow, for the morrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough evil of its own.” Matthew 6:34
Jesus preceded that command by reminding us that our worrying can’t achieve a thing.
“Which of you by worrying can add one inch to his height or a day to his life?” Matthew 6:27
Jesus tells us not to worry about our life, including food and clothing.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” Matthew 6:25
There may be many challenges in future days, but it is no use worrying about those challenges now. Deal with the challenges you have today, and get through today with God’s help, and then find God’s help in each new day as it comes along.
God has new mercies for you each morning, and they will help you deal with that day’s issues.
“Because of the Lord’s loving kindness we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness! My soul says, The Lord is my portion, therefore my hope is in Him.” Lamentations 3:22-24
Another friend of mine told me a few days ago that he has not been able to sleep. He has some extensive challenges coming his way and he feels completely inadequate to meet those challenges. I am confident he will, but it is the ‘unknown’ that is troubling him, like a person anxious before their first day in a new school or job. They can’t yet see themselves in that setting and there are too many unknowns for them to feel comfortable. Yet a few days later, most of the unknowns have been cleared up and the person realises there was no need to be so anxious.
My friend will meet his challenges successfully, I am sure, but his concern is robbing him of sleep.
Then this past week I visited a church where the large congregation sang songs declaring their complete faith in God. I struggled with their naive assurance, thinking that when the rubber meets the road they may find some challenges more overwhelming than they think.
The issues that will confront us are not defeated by simple declarations of our commitment. The disciples found that out when they assured Jesus they would not abandon Him, yet fled when Jesus was arrested. If people so close to Jesus can crumple, who do we think we are that we expect to do better?
Our best preparation for tomorrow is not to worry, nor to bolster ourself with cheap assurances that have not been tested. Our best preparation is to walk humbly with our God and to obey Christ’s instructions. A humble and obedient heart is a great asset to take into tomorrow’s challenges.
“He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8
In regard to an obedient heart, that means we have to obey Christ’s instruction not to worry about tomorrow – to “take no thought for tomorrow”.
That lines up with other instructions about worry and anxiety.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6
“Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” 1Peter 5:7
I know from my own experience that having a gnawing fear in your gut is most uncomfortable. I have lost sleep over things I had to face in the coming days. I know what it is to keep passing my concerns to God, only to find they came back to me like a dog with a ball. I am not suggesting that living free from worry will come easily, but we are all commanded to stop being anxious about tomorrow. As I have suggested, our best preparation for tomorrow is to have a humble and obedient heart.
May the Lord bless you with release from fear, and with a humble and obedient heart that allows you to find God’s new mercies each morning and give you all you need to deal with Tomorrow’s Troubles.