[photo: Andrea Luna Reece]
One of my morsels of daily encouragement is the "Morning & Evening" writings from Charles Spurgeon. I get them in my daily reading plan through my Bible app on my iPhone. Today's was particularly fitting.
These words penetrate deep.
"A daily portion is all that a man (woman) really wants. We do not need tomorrow's supplies; that day has not yet dawned, and its wants are as yet unborn. The thirst which we may suffer in the month of June does not need to be quenched in February, for we do not feel it yet"
How many of my moments of worry are connected to my thoughts of tomorrow and the worries that tomorrow stirs in me. How often have I worried over the thirst that I would have in June while living in the month of February? For it is right now literally February, and I can feel my heart beating quickly if I start to think of June. But, it is February. This may be the secret that our children live - they are living today. This moment. And the reality is that the older we get the more we know of storms that lurk and that the winds can change and this causes worry because we know that there are variables that could change things. But, we have no control over those variables, so why give thought to them?
June may indeed be a scorching month with sun beating down heavily and we may indeed be quite thirsty, but I will face that heat when it is directly over head. Today - today is the day that I am walking in and I want to be all in on THIS DAY.
"...if we have enough for each day as the days arrive we shall never know want. Sufficient for the day is all we can enjoy. We cannot eat or drink or wear more than the day's supply of food and raiment; the surplus gives us the care of storing it, and the anxiety of watching against a thief..."
I think of that moment with Jesus and the crowd of people gathered around him (in Matthew). He can see the worry etched on their faces. My face is there in the crowd too. What if we don't have enough food? What if we don't have enough money? What if his company fails? What if...
And Jesus, this Jesus, looks at them and His heart is filled with love for them. For me. He sees them as sheep that do not have a shepherd to take care of them. The job of the sheep is just to follow the shepherd to the good pasture, and the safe places and the water. These people looked like lost sheep. So, Jesus shepherds them by painting a picture with words. The people sat on the mountainside and looked out at the glittering lake and took in the surroundings.
He points to the birds. Everyone looks to see the birds pecking the ground and eating the seeds that lay in bounty for them. Jesus points out that the birds do not worry or store up seed for tomorrow. They know that there will be seed tomorrow because God takes care of them.
"God knows what they need and He feeds them."
Then He points to the wildflowers. Picture the wildflowers growing around you on a grassy hill. Where do these flowers buy their lovely clothes? Do they make them? Do they work every day so that they can buy them? I can hear that laughter in Jesus' voice as He points out the absurdity of this concept. No - these flowers are clothed by God and not even a king could dress as well as these little gems.
Jesus declares it loud and clear - YOU ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAT BIRDS! MORE IMPORTANT THAN FLOWERS! They don't sit and worry about things. And God doesn't want His children to worry either. Your Father in heaven knows what you need.
Sufficient for the day is all we can enjoy.
What has God given me today. For that I am grateful. I am expectant for what He will give me tomorrow. To so many, even to myself as I write this, this is naive. Right? Aren't we supposed to work to prepare for tomorrow. Store up? Retirement, college fund, vacation fund, rainy day fund? Don't get me wrong - there is wisdom in stewarding our resources. But, where the worries begin and the furrowed brow and the anxiety over the what if's begin - it goes against everything God is teaching us through all of scripture. He says He provides. He says one of His names is "Jehovah jireh" - the Lord will provide. He has even provided His son that we would be free from the debt of our sin. How can I trust God for this massive gift of redemption and not trust for little details like food or money? What if the simplicity of enjoying what is before us today - today's bread, today's clothes, today's children, today's husband - what if we could be sheep today and just follow the path that the Shepherd is leading us on. The sheep do not worry about whether they are on the right path, or whether this grass will be there tomorrow. For the shepherd will scoop them up and place them in the right spot if they get off the path. He has that shepherd's staff that he will gently use to push them back into the right place.
What this season is teaching me is that at the end of me, I can only rely on God. I tell Him all day long. "God, you say you will provide. I trust You to provide. You say you will give wisdom. I trust You for wisdom. You say that You leave Your peace. Bring Your peace. You say You are the GOOD SHEPHERD. Be my Shepherd. Lead me to the still waters and good pasture. You say you will."
How gracious He will be when you cry for help! As soon as He hears, He will answer you. Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden from you no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." - Isaiah 30:19-21
More than anything, my soul wants to hear the voice of my Shepherd, gently whispering, "This is the way; walk in it."