If there is one thing that I have discovered over the course of the past year or two, it is the fact that no matter how much you fight against it, life always has a way of catching up with you, and offering some sort of challenge. Whether that comes through work, relationships with friends and family, schooling, or sometimes all four, there always seems to be another trial waiting for us beyond the next turn.
I’ve really been struggling with this fact, lately. This past year of school has been incredibly difficult for me for a number of reasons – I’m learning that homework as a freshman is hardly even comparable to the homework of upper division classes. Additionally, I’ve begun to worry about my future career and aspirations – will I find the perfect internship that can allow me to have the appropriate connections for that job, one day? I know that these fears are foolish – God has already provided me with so much over the course of my life, it is ridiculous to even consider questioning his provision for me in the future. However, I suppose it is still human nature to worry about the future, or regret the past. Isn’t it funny that the one time in history that we think the least about is the one which we have the most control over – the present.
God has not gifted us so that we can transform the future – he has called us to live holy and godly lives in the present. One day, the future will be the present – and then maybe God will use us to make a difference, but until that happens, there is no sense in worrying about it. The perpetual “present” is what will prepare us for our ability to deal with the problems of the future “present” – so why would we want to dodge all of our training? I think it is funny that we often forget that Jesus himself taught us not to worry about the future, but trust him in the present. In Matthew 6, Jesus says,
“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? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? (Matt. 6:25-27)
Why do we think that we can better understand what to do with our lives that our Lord and Savior? Jesus reminds us that God is fully aware of our temporary needs and desires. It is not our place to worry about them. Jesus says that, instead, we ought to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matt. 6:33). Our place is to change our perspective and energy to address our spiritual growth today – not our growth tomorrow or next year, but right now!
Now I want you to understand me when I say this – I am not speaking as some “high and mighty” individual who thinks he has found the way to bring eternal peace and happiness…I fully realize that this is difficult and, at times, virtually impossible. I worry as much as anyone – but what I realize is that this attitude is WRONG. It shows an unwillingness to place our lives fully in the control of God. It is resistance to his divinity and lordship over our lives. Let’s acknowledge that God is God, and we are not. Let’s accept his lordship and submit to his guidance. I don’t mean that we shouldn’t strive to better ourselves or prepare ourselves for the future – in fact, I think that too often we don’t adequately prepare for our future lives. Too often we “live in the present” in the sense that we fill our days with fun and excitement and other diversions. And yet, we find ourselves worrying about the future. No wonder! When we waste our presents, we have good reason to have concern about the future!
Learning to submit our worries to Christ doesn’t mean that we do not carry any responsibility – we have the responsibility to walk in accordance with God’s leading and direction for our lives. We have an obligation to use our “present” to prepare for our “future.” But spending that precious time worrying accomplishes nothing at all.
I’m working my hardest to make a difference in the way I live my life right now. I still worry, but I’m learning to place those concerns before Christ, because if I don’t, I will burden myself to the breaking point, which is never a good thing. After all, Christ says, “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:30).
God Bless you all, this Friday – and I encourage you to devote your time and energy to concentrating on honoring God in the present, rather than worrying about the “future present.”
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. – Matt 6:34, NIV