What is it about tomorrow that gets me into such a knot?
Even when I slow down and give thanks for the blessings I have in my life today, as we did last week in From Anxious to Thankful, often there is a quiet question lurking under the surface.
The question is like the single note that turns a beautiful chord on its edge. It sneaks into my soul in the pause after a peaceful sigh.
“But what about tomorrow?”
Worrying about the future is a pastime I know well. The future is wily. As much as I try, I cannot tame it or force it to be what I want it to be. And that is terrifying.
Even when everything in my life is technically at peace, I can still stir up all kinds of turmoil. The sky might be blue today, but what about tomorrow?
Sometimes it’s easier for me to trust God for today. (Note: easier, not easy.) I know He is with me right now. I see His handiwork in the world all around me. When I slow down and take stock, there are so many beautiful blessings in my life. They are real, tangible, and right in front of me.
But what about tomorrow?
The nature of our existence on this earth makes this question extremely difficult. Tomorrow is invisible, unknowable, and mysterious. Things change. Tragedies strike.
All good things must come to an end, or so the saying goes—a reality that rubs our eternal souls entirely the wrong way.
We’re not the first ones to be ruffled by unfulfilled expectations. Jesus’s disciples thought He had come to set up a government, not to die on a criminal’s cross. As He broke the news to them, He added that there would also be persecution inevitably headed their way after He left.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world.”John 16:33
Have peace. Take heart. But how do we do that? How do we face our pile of tomorrows, with all their twists and turns, the prospect of hardships and uncertainties, and have peace?
How do we face our tomorrows and not end up in a fetal position?
I’ve had to intimately wrestle with the fact that I do not and will not understand why everything happens.
I might try my hardest to categorize and explain and interpret life’s worst moments, past and future. But the gritty reality is, I can’t.
And that breaks me.
There are no words. Only broken, bleeding soul fragments offered up to an omniscient God.
It is in this brokenness that I bring my pile of unopened tomorrows and acknowledge my inability to make sense of them.
My tomorrows have to be in God’s hands.
In my own Garden of Gethsemane, I echo the words of Jesus to my Father as He did. “Not my will, but Yours be done.” (Luke 22:42) I have to surrender every one of them, as if I could keep them in my own control to begin with. Once again, I have to acknowledge my dependence.
I have to trust that the same God that covers today with His goodness and grace will also cover tomorrow. I have to surrender the part of my heart that would twist God’s arm if it could, the part that demands that God follow my will or else.
I must accept that my pile of tomorrows is filled with a mixture of joy and pain: of God’s goodness and mercy following me all the days of my life, even in the valley of the shadow of death. (Psalm 23)
Our Father promises that He will be with us, that His Spirit will be in us. He goes before us and behind us, laying His hand over it all. (Psalm 139)
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.2 Corinthians 4:16-18
If we could only see past our handful of earthly tomorrows into the Eternal Tomorrow, maybe, like Paul, we would call our trials “light and momentary.”
As we look to the Eternal Tomorrow, we see a risen Savior that death couldn’t conquer. We see the never-ending goodness of God. We are promised a glorious purpose to our pain.
In the meantime, with divine courage, we must quiet the question by reminding ourselves of truth.
The truth is that God is faithful. He loves us more dearly than we could ever imagine.
“But, as it is written,
‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.’–these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit.”1 Corinthians 2:9-10a
God is not anxious about our tomorrows.
He knows the joys and hardships we will face in this life, He is preparing a glorious place for us in the next, and in the meantime, He welcomes us to face our tomorrows in His peace.
If, like me, you are prone to forget this, and each time your heart whispers “but what about tomorrow?” it feels completely legitimate to panic, come read my post, Confessions of a Thought Addict. It might shed some light.
I’ll end today’s post with an old gospel song from my childhood. The chorus sums it all up.
“Many things about tomorrow I don’t seem to understand. But I know who holds tomorrow and I know who holds my hand.”
Have a listen, if you’d like.