Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matt 6:34
You see I have realized that the Lord in reality does not want us to be too concerned about tomorrow. He wants us, and commanded us so, to take the days one by one.
One major reason why we end up disobeying the Lord is that we do not take such a simple injunction to heart. It is too simple and at the same time too drastic to be followed in it’s simplicity. How can we not do wise planning for tomorrow? The Lord Jesus cannot mean we should be that stupid, after all He himself had plans at certain times.
But the issue is that not understanding that simple instruction is where our problems begin. The Lord actually does not want us to have long term plans, nor does He want us to be concerned about what tomorrow holds for us. We are to actually trust that He will take care of those things; and that is where the problem again is – we actually do not trust.
What does He require of us? He wants us to take the days one by one. Yes, things are hard, but one way or the other, each day passes and we are still alive. You do not have that car, but you have managed to get from one place to another each day. Yes it was not easy; the sun was hot, there was a day it rained and it caught you outside, and you got soaked as if to your bones, but you are still here, and not dead because of it.
I remember one of such days when I was a resident doctor in LUTH Idi-Araba, Lagos. I left my apartment to go to church. I got to Ojuelegba, joined a bus going to CMS. As soon we got onto the Eko bridge, I knew I was in trouble. The whole horizon that came into view was painted black, it appeared. I knew we were driving into a very heavy downpour. And I was right. It indeed was heavy, very heavy. The danfo driver ordered everyone to come down as soon as he got to CMS bus stop. What?! How could he expect us to run into that heavy rain, which no one had prepared for? No umbrella, no raincoat, no protection of any sort, and it’s not like we were to get into a covered bus stop. Hey, I was dressed for church, couldn’t he appreciate that? But that was my problem, and not his; and I guess I was the only one who didn’t get it, because the other passengers all disembarked into the rain and each promptly got wet. I hesitated to come down, and asked where he’d be heading next. I was not planning to come down into that rain. Thankfully, my destination was on the route he announced. I paid the new fare and sat in.
The next stop was TBS, and this time I was able to make a dash for a covered area in front of the TBS arena. But the cover was quite high up (like in a stadium) and the space narrow so that it only offered protection if the drops came down straight at 90 degrees from the heavenly showerhead. Every blowing sent the drops into all of us taking shelter there. I got thoroughly wet. I shouldn’t forget to mention that the whole grounds was covered by several inches of water, and I had run down in this shallow sea with my fine Italian shoes (it was a Sunday remember). I was supposed to be headed for the MUSON centre for service, and it was just across the road, but the rain was too heavy, and I was too wet anyway to think of entering into that fully air-conditioned hall. The cold would have been tormenting. I stayed there till the rain subsided, then boarded another bus to start a return journey to Idi Araba.
I got back to find everywhere there covered too. I waded through water almost a foot deep through the gate into the premises. I eventually climbed the stairs to my apartment, got in, removed my wet clothes and continued trucking. I felt bad for sure. I wished I had just stayed home that day. Now I was out of my transport cost, wet to the bones, shoes likely to be damaged (it took over a week for my shoes to dry), and I didn’t even get into the church service. But that was just one day; I didn’t die. The next day came and life went on. It was nothing to dwell on with regrets. It’s just one of those things. I was alive, I had food, and I was busy. No big deal. It didn’t occur to me that I was suffering. I only got wet. Yes many were in their cars and did not get wet, and I did not have a car. But that is just life. We are on different paths in this life and at different stages on our individual paths. And I was quite aware that the season would pass.
I have heard people again and again speak under such circumstances that the problem was that I was in Nigeria where a doctor was so poorly paid I couldn’t afford a car. They’d point out to me that if I was somewhere in Europe or in the US, that wouldn’t have happened. But I remind them that if I was in those countries from the onset, the chances were much much higher that I wouldn’t be a doctor at all. I had a much higher chance of having been gunned down in Chicago by a gang, even if by accident. There was a high chance I would have been raised by my mother alone. These facts go together. Anyway, I was in Nigeria, and that day passed. You know, these days I don’t get beaten by rain. Actually I have no recollection of when such a thing happened last. My son is the one that gets that now. Once I got home to see a school bag, books and shoes put out to sun. Why? You guessed right. It was a long walk for him from the bus stop into the estate and our home. But as for me, I have a number of cars available to use, and if I did not even have, there are enough people around me who would gladly convey me in theirs. Life has moved on since the days of being trapped by rain at TBS.
You see, the Lord knows that there will be bad days, and there will be good ones. But in any day you are in, it is just one day, and the next day will come.
Once in a while, I look at my children. As at now the oldest is taller than me, has completed secondary school and is headed for the university next. There are times I would look at these kids and wonder where ‘these people’ came from. Yes, I remember my wife delivering babies, then breastfeeding them, then spoon-feeding them. I carried those babies. Day after day we changed nappies. They rode on my back while we played as they grew. Oh, often they would misbehave and had to be disciplined. They fell ill then and again. We prayed for them, treated them with analgesics and sometimes anti-malarials. I remember the day I took my baby girl to the children’s emergency very late at night and kept a paediatrician colleague standing over her till around 1 am. Then we returned home. Another day, a door sprang and trapped her finger, nearly totally amputating it till it hung only by a thread of skin. The plastic surgeon fixed it back (I met him again, retired now, when I took over as chaplain at a fellowship. He’s the keyboardist and praise-worship leader, and now we work together in that vineyard of the Lord). The finger healed neatly with little sign the accident ever happened. It was a painful day that day; my wife wept her eyes sore as she sat on the couch in the National Orthopaedic Hospital that day, but we survived that day and we kept growing. Days kept coming and days kept passing. Now, once in a while I look and I see grown kids in the house. I never arranged for them to grow. But we took each day at a time, and their development came by itself. The Yoruba adage says, “The child that does not die is destined to become an adult.”
One of the darkest of those days was the day my wife went into premature labour; we went to hospital and the baby had died in utero. I’m a doctor and so understood a lots of those things as they developed. At a point I went into a corner at home, sat on the floor and cried. I remember saying to the Lord, “Why are You letting this happen to me.” I couldn’t remember being negligent in praying over that pregnancy. It was not as if it came in a hurry after wedding anyway. I wept sore. Then I got up, wiped my face and appeared to my wife as if I was in control. Oh, before now she had had cause to worry for some days because she wasn’t feeling the baby moving much, and the obstetrician had said it was small for date. One of those days, to calm her, I put my hand on the pregnant tummy and began to declare the counsel of God to her. In summary I said to her that it was all well. When I was done, I spoke to the baby, and said, “Now give your mother a kick so that she’ll know that everything is alright.” As soon as I was done speaking, my wife shouted with excitement. Why? The baby had just given her a strong kick as in response to my command. Yet, a few days later, the baby expired and my wife went into premature labour to mark the end of the pregnancy. It was her eight month. That night in the hospital, after all visitors were gone, we joined our hands and gave thanks to the Lord. It was our first pregnancy. It was an eventful day, but it was just a day and it passed. And the Lord was still king, sitting on the throne, watching affectionately over us.
I remember that my father had to travel to Enugu to check on us, because my mum was so worried at the news she heard. He came, stayed a day with us and prayed with us. He said it was a trial of faith.
The obstetrician counselled that we waited for 6 months before trying for another pregnancy, to allow her fully recover, but my dear sister Anna said David went in and comforted Bathsheba after her baby died. I guess the force of the latter counsel was greater than that of the doctor, because 11 months later, my oldest guy was born. Born full of vitality, full of life, a joy to his parents and his grandparents. He erased the memory of the other day. Another day came, the other day was over. Three more times my wife became pregnant and had healthy babies. They came in such quick succession, one after the other, that we had to do something to slow things down.
This parable of Jesus explains these things so well, and is best read in the Amplified Bible.
The kingdom of God is like a man who scatters seed upon the ground, and then continues sleeping and rising night and day while the seed sprouts and grows and increases — he knows not how. The earth produces acting by itself… Mark 4:26-28
The Lord wants us to take each day at a time. We are to use the spiritual energy in us to tackle each day. That is the seed of faithfulness. Let us keep planting it. One day we will each look around and wonder at what the Lord would have done. Take these days one at a time. Fill each day with praise, and thanksgiving while fulfilling the duty of the day; many days will pass, and one day you will look and say, “Who bore all these children for me?” (Is 49:21) as you behold what the Lord would have produced in your life.
But unfortunately we are too busy planning for tomorrow. We are anxious about tomorrow. When things do not work as we would want, we panic. We start running helter-skelter. We have this mistaken idea that tomorrow is decided by what today looks like and how we have planned for tomorrow. We think we are to strategically position ourselves for tomorrow, and we only do physical positioning. We either think God plots tomorrow from the physical things of today, or we do not believe He is actually in charge. In both we are wrong.
See, tomorrow is a gift. It is a gift of God. If you want something special in it, ask Him for it. If what you are asking for is actually good for you, He will ALWAYS grant it. Jabez tackled his tomorrow through prayer and God granted His request. When James and John came with fleshly requests, they were denied. The Lord said they did not even know what they were talking about.
Life is enjoyable if we take it one day at a time, in the victories and the trials.
There is a wisdom to learn, and that is how to break our days into one-day slots. There are days that are not 24 hours of chronological time, and this was why Jesus would seem to plan for the future.
The Lord now chose seventy-two other disciples and sent them ahead in pairs to all the towns and places he planned to visit. Luke 10:1-2 NLT.
Actually this plan was for the then current day. He took the days one at a time. It was the ‘day’ of visiting many towns and places, so He sent His workers ahead. That day could have been a year in a chronological sense. Many times, there is a season you are in, and that is one day. For example, a student can see a semester as one day, and there is another way to see 4 years of studying for a degree as one day.
Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
Learn the duties for each day, and don’t disturb yourself about planning for the next. The next day will unfold for you. For the servants of the master who the Lord Jesus spoke of in Luke 19, they were to be busy in one day multiplying the minas the master gave to them. But when the mater came back, He had cities to share out. Those who were busy planning for takeover of cities got nothing. Those who were not busy multiplying the minas lost out. But those who did right were only busy fulfilling the assignment for that day, which was multiplying the minas given to them; they did not know they were going to be rulers shortly.
What is your assignment for today? You are to be found faithful in it. You may look planless, but don’t worry about it; your plans wouldn’t take you anywhere anyway with God. Only His plan will stand. If your own plans stand they will not bring you good at the end. So remove trouble from your heart, and sorrow from your flesh, like Solomon advised; this day you are in will soon be over. Try your best to accurately discern the duties for each day so what you do not miss out on the use of the time allotted.
Just keep on trucking.
You don’t have a job today? Just keep on trucking. Find something small to do to tide you over for just another day.
You current job doesn’t pay so much? Just learn to manage; Paul taught us that it is one major skill the Lord gives strength for. “I can be satisfied with little because of Him who give me strength,” He said. You must not waste the day complaining about what is not. Conquer the challenge of being joyful despite the challenges.
There is power failure? Light a lantern, and manage for one more day. Many times I have placed a mattress on my balcony to sleep when inside the house was too uncomfortable by reason of the heat, and there was no power. By the next day, life goes on. I will not run from the place of my assignment because of little inconveniences. Too many spoilt Christians there are these days.
You are sad today; just keep trusting. It is one day at a time. Learn to keep your eyes focused on the Lord one day at a time.
I used to wonder how Abraham waited for Isaac for 25 years. Wow! That is some patience, right? But not so, he was just busy daily doing the assignment of each day. The man grew rich in the process of waiting for Isaac. That was how 25 years passed and Gods glory was allowed to manifest.
To be a Christian is to indeed trust that the Lord is in control. He has a plan for tomorrow; only today has been revealed. So learn to enjoy today.
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