“Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” Luke 12:22
Sarah Young offers the following thoughts in her book, Jesus Calling, about how to consider future events. “1) Do not linger in the future, because anxieties sprout up like mushrooms when you wander there. 2) Remember the promise of My continual Presence; include Me in any imagery that comes to mind. This mental discipline does not come easily because you are accustomed to being god of your fantasies.” (Jesus Calling)
Take inventory of where you are today and your circumstances. Are you in the place or condition today that you worried about in the past? For most of us the answer is no. Truth be told most of us were worrying about things in the past that never happened and we wasted all that energy- and even if the things that we worried about had happened worrying about them would still have been a waste of energy because the expense of worrying wouldn’t have changed anything anyway. Worrying doesn’t take away tomorrow’s troubles, but it does drain today of its peace.
I like Sarah’s suggestion to include God in our projections if we must briefly wander to the future. We recognize that God is already in our future, He already knows how the chapters evolve and end, but actually envisioning Him in the images or concerns will change our perspective.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!” Ephesians 3:20
I saw a cartoon the other day of Jesus and a man walking on the beach. It is a take off of the two sets of footprints sketch when Jesus tells the man that when he only sees one set of footprints in the sand he had not been abandoned by Jesus but rather Jesus was carrying him. This sketch picked up where that left off and Jesus said “and there, where you just see a long line in the sand, was where I had to drag you kicking and screaming.” Funny. I think there’s some truth to that. My goal is to have most of the sand covered with two sets of footprints evidencing my willingness to follow in faith, but the reality is I will have many areas of one set of footprints and probably a fair amount of long lines in the sand.
What amount of control do we have over the journey? If you’ve turned your life over to Jesus- none. When you find your head down and your thoughts have turned to worry and you’re sure this burden is not meant for you and there must have been some mistake on the loading dock, ask around. Talk to other people about their struggles and really listen. I always find that when I do this I realize that my circumstances or struggles, though I would not have chosen them, are really for me- for a purpose, for such a time as this. There is a saying that if we all threw our burdens on the table, after seeing everyone else’s we would take our own back. There is truth to that- so embrace the circumstance, the journey, the struggles, the unknown- God is in all of it, the today’s and the tomorrow’s- He is not only chapters ahead in the story, He is already at the end- and because He is already at the end, they all do really live happily ever after.