We tend to have the habit of worrying about an event long before it takes place. If we have a doctor’s appointment ahead we can worry for weeks about it. Or what about a meeting at work, a difficult talk with a friend or a trip to see family? The list of what we can dread or obsess over is endless. Even if we know we are supposed to trust in God, we may have trouble letting go and believing that He will provide.Our worrying is an effort to gain some control; to feel some security by planning ahead and preparing ourselves for the worst. But instead of giving us control and security, it seems to rob us of it entirely. What it also robs us of, is the present and real experience with God. You see, God does not meet with us in the future, where we are not yet. He meets with us here. If we bypass considering Him and opening ourselves to focus on Him here, we are missing out on His present help, His voice and truth. We are also putting ourselves in an imaginary future where we are reliving some unpleasant experience over and over as we worry about it. We don’t want to have that difficult conversation we dread, but by imagining it we are having it over and over! And possibly making it even worse in our heads. Then we are hurting our minds, burdening our hearts and draining our bodies. And for what?
When the Israelites were on their Exodus out of Egypt, they logically worried if they would have food along the way. God told them that He would supply, and that He would do it daily. He would send manna to the people fresh every day. Their instruction was to finish what they were given by the end of each day; to save no food. This would they would have to trust that after finishing their meal today, they would again by met by God with new provision the next. Of course this meant full reliance on God. It was an instruction of total trust. It required them to live only in the present, while leaning on God for tomorrow. And God always did supply as they trusted Him to do so.
I also think of Jesus as a prime example of living in the present. If I were Him, knowing that I would die a horrible death, I would worry and be upset about it for months, maybe years on end! I probably wouldn’t even have been able to do all the work I was meant to do prior to that, out of sheer exhaustion from mental anguish. But Jesus did it all so well. He was never absent from the present and living in a mental future, even though He knew what was to come and what it would be like. He was fully present, ready to use every day and make each hour count. Even a few days before His death He rode out on a donkey and celebrated with the people. Only the night before did He get deeply bothered in His soul, and then He brought His heart to God, where an angel came and “strengthened Him” (Luke 22:43). But I just think to myself, if Jesus did it and He lives in me, perhaps there is much more of this present living that I am able to do too.
As difficult as it can be, we are meant to live in today. We are meant to use every chance to reach people, to love others and to enjoy life. Just as God gave manna to His people in the day they were in, just as He strengthened Jesus the night before (and I am sure that very day) so He gives us grace and help in the day we are presently in. And we must trust His provision, whether it be basic needs or emotional help, will come when needed. God does not want us to worry about tomorrow, nor believe that He will not provide for us on that day. Even Moses must have worried a great deal about what he would say to Pharaoh when asking to free the Israelites. But God told him that at that time He would give him the words.
It might seem scary that we can’t prepare. But if we know just how much God is with us, it is wonderfully freeing to know that we don’t have to. We can live today and live it to its fullest because we are fully present. And when that future day comes, God will grant us a peace and ability that will in fact be there. When we trust in that, we can rest now. When we open hearts to faith, God can start blessing us with His peace today. May we ask for the faith we need. And holding close the reliable love of God, choose to surrender to His goodness.
Dear Lord, you know how hard it can be to rest in faith. We are so naturally inclined to worry about what is ahead, and we are sorry that we often do not trust you to take care of us. Thank you for your gracious understanding toward us. Please empower us by your Spirit to rest in trust. Enable us to see you as you are…as someone we can lean on and someone who will in fact, totally take care of us. Give us what we need to unclench our hands and let you work through us with your peace. In Jesus name, Amen.
By Jade Mazarin, M.A., BCCC | Christian Counselor