I like to know what’s going on. I like to be able to control what is happening, how it’s happening, when it’s happening, and even why it’s happening. I’m a planner, and I like to have a plan as well as see that plan come to fruition.
Perhaps that is why I’ve spent so much time wrestling with God in my prayers lately; why my prayers have included more questions asked, concerns expressed, fears shared, and tears shed than is the norm for my prayer time. Maybe it’s my desire to be in control and plan for what’s coming tomorrow that has me struggling more lately.
The past couple of months have been both very exciting and very difficult…it’s been quite a whirlwind. After more than a year’s hiatus from ministry, I was able to get back into doing what I love. After not having steady work and income for a few months, I had steady income because I had 2 steady jobs. After a while of struggling to pay basic bills, I finally saw light at the end of the tunnel with being able to start climbing back onto steady ground. Important relationships in my life were growing stronger, and even difficult relationships seemed to be getting better as well.
Even though I was back in ministry doing what I love to do, I was quickly reminded just how difficult ministry can be when some major hardships took place at my church. Even though I now had 2 steady jobs that could provide me steady income, an old medical issue showed up again and made it impossible to work one of my jobs, so I wasn’t able to work as I needed. Because of that, the light I thought I saw at the end of the tunnel faded out of view again because of my inability to work the hours I needed. Important relationships didn’t end up as I had hoped (it’s a part of life…no hard feelings, but it’s still tough), and difficult relationships were still much harder for me than I was hoping they’d be at this point.
It’s been both an exciting and exhausting past couple of months with all that has been going on. None of it is how I would have planned it to be. And, with how things have been going these past couple of months, I have no idea what to expect in the months to come. I have no idea what tomorrow holds. And I don’t like that.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. – Hebrews 11:1
“Hoped for” and “not seen”. In this verse which gives us a definition of what faith is, it says that faith does not include knowing what’s coming tomorrow and being in control. Faith involves the things “hoped for”…meaning it’s in the future and it hasn’t happened yet, so we have to have faith. Faith involves things “not seen”…meaning it’s not something we can see or control, so again we have to have faith.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. – Proverbs 3:5-6
This life is a journey. And on this journey, we are constantly seeking to know where our next step will be. We can plan for what we would like to see happen, but along this journey of life there are way too many variables over which we have no control that can change the course of our journey. In this very popular verse, we are told that while we walk along the path of our life journey, we must trust in the Lord rather than in our own ideas and understanding. When we trust him, he will guide us along the path.
“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 is speaking here, and he tells us to not worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow…the future. Jesus tells us to just focus on today and let go of worrying about tomorrow. As one who likes to plan and know what is coming next, that’s not so easy. I want to take care of things today, but also have a solid plan for what is coming tomorrow as well as the next day…and the day after that too.
In these 3 verses, we are told to trust, have faith, and not be anxious (worry). Those are contradictory to my desire to know, control, and plan.
I say I have faith in God. I say I trust him. And I want to not worry about the future. The question is, do I really? Do I really have faith in God? Do I really trust him? Do I really want to not worry about the future?
You see, I can say that I have all those things and that I want to live according to those verses. But unfortunately, words only count for so much when it comes to faith and trust and not worrying. Actions are what really prove my faith, show my trust, and reveal if I’m really not worrying.
Despite how difficult things are and potentially will be, I must be willing to let go of my desire to control things, and I must act in faith that I know God is trustworthy and has a plan for my tomorrow.
Despite not knowing how I’ll cover bills on a weekly basis, I must be willing to keep working hard at the jobs the Lord has provided for me (being smart with how I spend money of course), and then have faith that God will provide for any needs that arise tomorrow.
Despite not understanding why my life is the way it is right now, I must be willing to keep seeking to live for God and be faithful, and then trust that God has a plan for all that is happening now and for my tomorrow.
Despite not being able to be in control, despite not being able to plan for all scenarios, and despite not being happy with some of the things that are going on, I must be willing to let go of worry and place my faith and trust in a God who is in control and has a plan, even when I can’t see it or don’t understand it.
“Lord, give me strength to put action behind my words; words that say I trust you and have faith in you. Give me strength to not worry about tomorrow, no matter how difficult today is, because I know that you have a plan and are in control of all the things I have no control over. Help me to not just say I know you have a plan, but help me live like I know it.”