Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tomorrow's Troubles

Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow . . . (Matthew 6:25-34).

Then Moses said to them, “No one is to keep any of it until morning.” (Exodus 16:16-21)

So many of the worries we live with today aren’t about today; they are about days yet to come. Jesus said tomorrow would take care of itself – but it doesn’t hurt to get a jump on things, or so we think.

When God provided manna in the desert he gave his people some clear instruction on how it was to be gathered. They were to collect only what was needed for that day, no more, no less. The manna could not be stored overnight; they could not carefully ration out one day's allotment so as to be sure that there would be breakfast the next morning. The story is thousands of years old, but little has changed. God still does what he said he would do. And we still do what God told us not to do.

As for God, he has forever been and always will be our provider. God knows what you need. God gladly listens to what you want – but he knows perfectly what you need. And what you need will not be withheld. Quite often we express our wants with impatience. We speak of our lack with resentment. Nevertheless, God graciously provides. That’s the way it was in the wilderness. That’s the way it is right now.

And as for us, we cheat. With our worry we scoop up tomorrow’s bread. Gratitude for what we find on the ground today quickly withers in the heat of our anxiety over next week, or next month. We pray on Sunday as Jesus taught us: “Give us this day our daily bread.” But on Monday we break the rules. That’s the way it was in the wilderness. That’s the way it is right now.

God gave these instructions to his people in order to teach them. With every new morning they would learn something about God. Their boldness in his goodness would grow with each sunrise as the dew lifted and the day’s provision lay on the ground. They were learning to trust, to let go.

One can easily imagine that in the darkness of the night, after the day’s manna had been consumed at supper time, after the children were sleeping, some fathers were lying awake and wondering if it would be there again in the morning. Could they depend on what they were learning every day about their God? Could they let go of their anxieties about feeding the family and know that God would provide? Could they sleep?

Surrender is what your soul does in the dark of night that allows you to sleep, at rest in the care of God. We spend a lifetime learning to do this. Every new morning is a chance to learn again or perhaps to learn more.

Next Steps:
Read Exodus 16:16-21. Are any of your worries focused on tomorrow or beyond? What will you learn about the goodness of God today?

Gracious God, you have always been faithful to provide what we need. And yet, we brood over tomorrow as if, for some random and unknown reason, you will forget us. Forgive the fear that keeps us awake at night and the pride that drives us to gather as much as we can each day. Teach us trust you more with every new morning, we ask in Jesus’s name. Amen.

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