“yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring.“ (James 4:14)
What a great tower of worry is built upon the foundations of “tomorrow”! Imagined futures weigh down on our mind as we visualise worst possible scenarios, and what lies ahead appears dark indeed. The news headlines throng with predictions which fail to materialise, and bad news continues to sell papers. Now I know I am painting a gloomy picture, and I know that in many cases we look forward to tomorrow. Holidays and celebrations can cast a cheery shadow over the day before, but the darkness cast by dreaded “tomorrows” can often be longer.
When preaching on the mountainside, Jesus urged: “therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:34). Jesus here brings our focus sharply back to the present. Don’t worry about the future, but concern yourself with today. There is plenty to deal with in the here and now, without our fretting about what might (or might nor) occur tomorrow.
But how? After all, few intentionally set out to worry! More often, anxiety creeps up unbidden. A cold tap on the shoulder whilst your attention is elsewhere. Well, you might have noticed that the quote from Jesus I gave above began with “therefore”. That’s a hint that something vital came before, and if you were to read the verses before you would find Jesus reassuring you that God knows you need to eat and drink, and that if God provides food for the birds surely he’ll provide food for you! Better, Jesus suggests, to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).
When worry nags, turn your concerns to prayer. Seek good things not by effort, but by following God’s commands. In the end, only God knows what will happen tomorrow, and if we trust in a God who loves us surely we can trust him with our futures. “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:5).