Thursday, 9 December 2010

Thinking Thursday: Do Not Worry About Tomorrow…

Worrying about tomorrow is something we all do, and I used to have trouble understanding Jesus' command that we should not. I used to think of planning: life would soon fall into chaos if I didn't think about tomorrow. But since I had my stroke, I have found myself thinking about tomorrow with fear. What if I never recover fully? What if I am permanently dependent on others for care? How will I bear it? And those thoughts are dangerous.

About 50% of stroke victims suffer depression, and I can understand why. With each disability, so much is lost, not only in the present, but in the future. So many plans and hopes will not now be realised. I have not suffered depression, but I feel what I call 'the black pit' looming just out of sight, to swallow me if I dwell on these things or begin to despair. Yet when I look back, the experience I went through in the early days after my stroke should have thrown me in the pit. Yet I bore it all, and even managed to smile.

As I thought of possible futures and how I could bear them, I looked back and thought of how I bore my previous suffering. Only through God's grace. I do not have the fortitude. In worldly terms, I couldn't bear it. But I did. So in the future, my only hope of bearing whatever comes is the same. I have to rely on God.

Corrie Ten Boom was a Dutch lady whose family sheltered Jews during the German occupation and who were betrayed and sent to a concentration camp. I remember reading in one of her books that she asked her father what if they were sent to a concentration camp. He replied by asking her "When we go on a trip, when do I give you your train ticket?" She replied that he gave it to her when she reached the station. He said that, in the same way, God would give her the grace she needed when she needed it, and not before.

Now I understand what Jesus meant. If I worry about future suffering, it will ruin my present, because I am trying to bear something that has not yet happened and I have not yet received grace for. I receive grace today to bear today's trouble.

Matt.6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
2 Cor.12:9 My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

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