One Day at a Time

by Paul Tautges | February 27, 2019 8:13 am

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:34)

Jesus knew his disciples were worried about the immediate, today, as well as about the next day, tomorrow. Therefore, his closing counsel to them was to live one day at a time, to restrict their concerns to today. It’s as if Jesus is saying, “You know what? There’s enough trouble in any given day for any of us to deal with. But if you’re also going to borrow from tomorrow and bring it into today, then you’re in double trouble.”

The reason why we worry so much is because we worry too much. We worry two days at a time. In fact, some of us are so good at worrying we worry a week at a time. But Jesus tells us not to do that. To worry about tomorrow is unwise because it doesn’t drain tomorrow of its sorrows, it only drains today of its strength. It’s futile to worry about tomorrow.

We’re not to worry about tomorrow because there is enough to deal with today without loading our plate from tomorrow’s menu. Each day serves up enough trouble without picking a fight with the next day. The trouble with many of us is that we’ve got into an unhealthy and unholy habit of going out to meet trouble halfway. We’re looking over the balcony of today into tomorrow, which has a debilitating effect and makes life unbearable.

There are two days we don’t need to worry about: yesterday and tomorrow. Yesterday, because it’s gone and not coming back; and tomorrow, because we’re not sure if it’s coming at all or what it holds. The problem is that some of us drag yesterday into today and others pull tomorrow into today, making life more difficult and less joyful. Wisdom informs us that we can only live one day at a time. God has appointed to each day its portion of pleasure and pain. As the old Swedish hymn says, especially in the last two lines of its verse:

Day by day and with each passing moment, Strength I find to meet my trials here; Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment, I’ve no cause for worry or for fear. He whose heart is kind beyond all measure Gives unto each day what He deems best— Lovingly, it’s part of pain and pleasure, Mingling toil with peace and rest. (Carolina Sandell, 1865)

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In light of the hymnwriter’s reminder and Jesus’ teaching, we must not bring future troubles forward into today by being anxious. We must believe that God will still be God tomorrow, as he is today (Hebrews 13:8; Revelation 1:8). Tomorrow there will be enough grace for its own troubles. Grace cannot be borrowed or hoarded. The grace for tomorrow is not given today. So don’t cross the proverbial bridge until you get there. Jesus said, “Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” God will give you grace to live one day at a time.

[This article is an excerpt from Philip De Courcy’s mini-book, HELP! I’m Anxious.]

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