It is human nature to be concerned. Health, finances, relationships, children and plans consume our thoughts and our time. We wonder about present circumstances and the future implications of decisions. We plan, forecast and analyze in an effort to predict and control outcomes. Doing so without considering God is arrogant on our part. “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.” (James 4:13-16 NKJV)

Jesus taught that disciples must trust God’s providence regarding one’s needs. “Therefore, I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” (Matthew 6:25-30 NKJV)

It is difficult to accept that we cannot know, let alone control the future. Jesus asked His disciples a very pointed question when instructing them not to worry. “If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest? (Luke 12:26 NKJV) It takes great faith to trust God’s providence. “And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Luke 12:29-31 NKJV) “Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:34 NKJV) This is the source of the adage “take life one day at a time.”

Focusing on the things we cannot know, or control, distracts us from the things that we can know and control. It is ironic that God hides the near future from mankind but provides absolute certainty for eternity. “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.” (Hebrews 9:27-28 NKJV) “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” (2 Peter 3:9-13 NKJV)

Focus on what we do know and can control, our eternal destiny. Trust both the promises and the providence of God!

Ken Fleeman (10/24/2021)

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