“This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” – Psalm 118:24 (ESV)
Having endured some level of quarantine for months now, it seems life has been put on hold. We have had less direction than normal as routines have had to be broken, plans have been canceled indefinitely, and the usual tasks and activities simply can’t be done. As a result, our typical train of thought has been interrupted. We suddenly have more time to think about other things. There is a lot of new information being thrown at us in the news, as well as the constant bombardment of everyone’s opinions on social media. Something certainly on all of our minds is the future. There are many different thoughts on what it might hold but we all have hopes for it to improve. Young or old, healthy or sick, rich or poor, we all imagine a life ahead that will be better.
Regardless of our hope for the future, it is inevitably filled with unknowns. The direction it could go seems without limits. Our thoughts swirl with conjectures and emotions fluctuate. Sometimes we’re excited about the possibilities, sometimes we fear the terrors that could be, and sometimes we’re sad about what may never come to pass. Ultimately, this mulling over what lies ahead leads to frustration, since we cannot predict what our remaining life on earth will look like. As our minds can find nothing solid to land on we then continue to wander through all the what if’s, what could be’s and why’s.
Thankfully, we are not left completely blind. God does give us promises for the future that we can fully rely on: that he will not withhold anything good from us (Psalm 84:11), he is working all things together for our good (Romans 8:28), he has good works prepared for us (Ephesians 2:10), we have eternal life to look forward to (John 3:16)…lots of very good things! But this doesn’t always satisfy our desire to know more details. It doesn’t promise that what you or I think should happen will come to pass. And this where we need to pause and question our thought process. Thinking about the future is not a bad thing, but if it starts to make us discontent and question God’s goodness, then we have a problem. This reveals we are holding too tightly to our idea of what a good future is and spending too much time on what we don’t and may never have.
We must surrender the future. God alone knows what it holds. He is sovereign, he is faithful, and he doesn’t just have a bright plan for the future, he is working here and now. He is sanctifying us right now and speaking to us, if we’ll just stop and quiet our minds to listen. God loves us just as we are and he has a wise and good plan for each of us this very day. God also isn’t just working on one person at a time. He is doing mighty works for billions of people all over the world at this very moment! Today has enough trouble and needs of its own as well as enough joys, blessings, opportunities, and just enough minutes to accomplish what God has prepared for us. We need to make the most of what we have now (Ephesians 5:15-16), which includes always rejoicing, being in conversation with God constantly, giving thanks for everything, doing everything to the glory of God!
In Colossians 3:1, we are called to set our minds on things that are above. This may at first make us think just about heaven and the future when Jesus returns and all things will be restored, but we are missing the here and now! Our Father who is “above”, in heaven, is building his kingdom now and we get to be a part of it now. We need not dwell on the uncertainties of the future when we have plenty to see, learn, and do in the present. Psalm 84:10 says, “For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.” Spending just today knowing (thinking) I am in the presence of God is better than knowing whether I even have a thousand more days of life. God is the one upholding us, giving us each breath and heartbeat. He is with us, holding us in his hand. May that be enough for us. May we be content with this day he has given us.
Stop, quiet your mind, and think about what God is doing today, right now, in your life and in the world? Each morning and evening have a conversation with God. Ask him, “What do you have planned today, Father?” and tell him about your ideas for the day. In the evening talk to him about your day and ask about his: “What have you been up to today, Father?”
Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (ESV)
Luke 9:23 “And he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.’” (ESV)
Lamentations 3:22-23 “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (ESV)
Matthew 6:11 “Give us this day our daily bread” (ESV)