stop-worrying-2When in the midst of a trial, it is easy to make the mistake of borrowing trouble. Really all we should be thinking about is dealing with what is right in front of us today.
          However, prone as we are to worry, we often find ourselves living in the future. Because we can’t see a solution to our problems yet, we automatically assume that they are going to continue on indefinitely.
          When we try to carry many days worth of trouble this way, we naturally become overwhelmed. And the reason we become overwhelmed is that God never meant for us to live this way. He didn’t create our spirits with strength sufficient to carry the load of future problems. He meant for us to live one day at a time. In fact, Jesus very specifically said to “not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34).
          Deal with tomorrow when the day comes, He said. Not now. Don’t try to carry the burden of challenges that belong to future days, weeks, months, or years. Don’t fret about something that hasn’t happened yet. Not only is it exhausting; it is pointless.
          It is pointless because you just don’t know what solutions God is going to provide for you between now and then. By the time tomorrow rolls around, you could very well have some new insights, information, or resources at your disposal that will make everything much more tolerable. Or God could even have put an end to your problems by that time. You just don’t know.
          The Lord sustains us. He provides for us. He takes care of His children, moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day. We don’t need to worry about the future because God is already there.
          This was the principle the LORD sought to teach the Israelites during their years of wandering in the wilderness. After He had supernaturally supplied them with manna to eat, He had Moses instruct the people to not leave any of it for the next day (Exodus 16:19). They were only to gather enough manna for that particular day, not for the week or the month – not even for the next couple of days.
          The Israelites, however, worried that provision from God might not come again tomorrow. And so they disobeyed His instructions and saved some of the manna in case the LORD didn’t provide for them the next day. But what happened when the next day came? All the delicious, white wafers they had kept had gone bad and were full of maggots (verse 20)! It was God’s way of showing them what happens when you refuse to trust Him and try to do things your own way.
          Just as with Israelites in the Old Testament, God wants you and me to live in a state of dependency on Him. He wants us to remember that His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23), and so we don’t need to worry about the next day. God’s provision for today – be it physical, emotional, or spiritual – is meant for today only. Tomorrow His mercies will be new and fresh and invigorating again, and He will once again meet our needs.
          Have you ever considered that Jesus Himself, when He prayed (Luke 11:3), asked His Father for daily bread, not for a week’s or month’s supply of it? And when He did, He set the example for us of what it means to lean on our heavenly Father for everything we need on a daily basis.
          Admittedly, this kind of dependent living can feel very foreign to us today in the affluent western world. We shop for food and household items in large quantities and stock and store in our basements and garages in order to always have what we need at our fingertips.
          But the truth is that there is no real security in anything that we possess in this life. Everything we have worked for could be ripped away from us in a second (Luke 12:20). And if it is, and it leaves us with angst and fear in our hearts, that is a telltale sign that we were trusting in our resources and not in the Lord.
          Now, the Bible isn’t saying that we shouldn’t plan ahead. This is clear from countless passages in God’s Word that promote wise, prudent living. What it is saying is that in the midst of all our planning we must still rely on God. We must lean more on Him than we do on our own plans.
          We need to recognize that ultimately our plans will come to fruition only if it is in the Lord’s will (James 4:15). Also, because God is in complete control of every little detail of our life, even when things don’t turn out the way we intended them to, we can rest in His ability to work all things together for our good (Romans 8:28).
          Again, the Lord wants us to live one day at a time. If we attempt to go about our lives any other way, we will fill our minds with worries and miss out on blessings that God has for us in the here and now.
          Because how can we enjoy a beautiful sunset, rich fellowship with other Christians, an unexpected, divinely ordained opportunity to share the Gospel, or spontaneous play with a carefree child if our mind is preoccupied with anxious thoughts? If we are living in the past or the future, we can’t possibly be fully present in the moment.
          Of course, the reality is that we don’t even know if we will be around tomorrow. None of us is guaranteed another day of life. Which is why it is so critical to make the very most out of today.
          Rather than worrying so much about what may or may not happen tomorrow, we must eat up the manna of the day – the grace that God gives us for right now. And if He does bless us with another day, we can know that His provision for that day will be fresh once again.

The above article is a chapter from my upcoming book, “Life More Abundantly: Trading Your Good For God’s Best.”