During the long season of our former intense financial and health struggles, decades ago now, there is one lesson we both learned that stayed with us for a very long time after our lives stabilized.
That lesson is: Only live one day at a time!
For us the idea is drawn from the New Testament Book of Matthew Chapter 6 beginning at the twenty-fifth verse:
25 “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? 26 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? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If
that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and
tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you
of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
I learned well the value of the principles of trusting God in all things, even for the provision, many a time, of our next meal. For many years God told me I had to "put my money where my mouth was", so to speak and demonstrate that kind of trust, not only for my own faith in him to grow, but also as a testimony of encouragement to other people in a similar situation who needed to know what God could do for them as well.
After my husband became an Anglican priest and we had, for the first time in years, a steady monthly income with a few medical benefits and a pension plan, plus taxes paid at source, it was very uncomfortable. We both felt very insecure about how quickly we might become dependent on that known monthly income factor, how weird it was to us to not have to pray in every rent payment, every tank of gasoline for our car, weekly groceries, emergency funds etc. etc. etc. For the first couple of years we simply didn't trust in our provision...at least not the way we had when we were in, outwardly at least, far more dire straits.
At some point after the first two years of steady income, I lost, without realizing it, that simple, complete trust in God's personal care and provision. Easy enough to do I suppose, but it has been upsetting me the past few days to realize how thoroughly I have transferred my allegiance to that all mighty monthly pay cheque my husband works so hard to get.
There are possible changes looming for us next year, changes that may find us financially dependent on the Lord in more direct and personal ways once again. Even though it is only a possibility at the moment, far from being decided, I have spent the past ten days freaking out! FREAKING OUT!!
O me of little faith....sigh......
Yesterday I finally figured out why I have been on edge since these ideas arose a couple of weeks ago: I have forgotten, ignored, not trusted in, the very lesson that saw us through the worst times of our lives. The lesson is that when God says he will take care of his people, he DOES take care of his people. My husband has not forgotten the lesson as thoroughly as myself. While possible changes push most people into a sort of mental/emotional limbo while things get straightened out and decided "for sure", he has managed quite well to deal with the expected stresses such times can bring. I have not fared quite as well because I have not, until today, taken the time to remember the past and rehearse the myriad times when we prayed in our need and God showed up with the answers.
Matthew 6:34 is the crux of the lesson for me. I have to stop scaring myself by looking into an unknown future and seeing a grey void where the answer to come is not yet. I have to think no farther than what I have had provided for me to get through only this day, keeping alert of course to possible solutions to the future problems, BUT that future is not yet. Today is all I have, only this moment actually. When and if we need some new answers about the future, they will arise at the right time and we will do what God wants us to do and all will be well no matter what other difficulties may be involved in the process.
Slowly the peace that comes from truly trusting our invisible God is returning, trust in the God who provides our every need in his own ways...sometimes incomprehensible, sometimes obvious...but always we have had what we truly needed and there is no reason that should change, right?
Of course right!
Time to get back on the track of faith and trust in my Abba...my heavenly Father. If I seek him first, (As I have been doing that more since my frantic fears began to calm, I have seen evidence of his working each and every day!), he will take care of the rest of the details of my life.
Thank you Lord for the reminder that in the end you are truly all that I have that is real and eternal, not simply temporal and fleeting.