Many times people ask out of desperate pleas, "But how do I face tomorrow? I can barely get through today, much less deal with this tomorrow again! It's too much to even think about." Well, thankfully, there's an easy answer to a query that humans often wrongly contort into a complexity. You don't face tomorrow. Confused? Let me break it down for you a bit from a Scriptural context, which is our sole source of Truth.
Today is so full of troubles, trials, worries, pains, frustrations, anger and unfortunate circumstances. This is widely known and experienced by humanity. Sure, sometimes lovely blessings are sprinkled throughout the day, and they are each is a gift from God we should cling to and be filled with gratitude! But these blessings aside, many times our life struggles are so overwhelming and consuming. For example, I struggle with chronic pain due to unstable or dislocated joints from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, severe, crushing spinal pain that due to Scheuremann's disease, searing chest pains due to cystic fibrosis, migraines, chronic abdominal pain due to so many abdominal surgeries and implanted devices, and many other types of physical pain that vary per day in location and severity. For me, pain is always there; it is never absent, not even for a moment. When someone says they they're not in pain, my jaw drops, and I usually respond, "Really? Never? You mean you're perfectly comfortable right now?" It's a mind-blowing thought. But getting through the day and tackling tomorrow is an equally mind-blowing thought. Most days, my pain consumes me. It shoves work aside, blocks out any positive thought, restricts me from enjoying hobbies, and cancels social gatherings. It makes today hard enough, much less tomorrow a thought worthy of tackling. But God knows this. He knows we are consumed sometimes with the trials of today, so He encourages us by recognizing and submitting to the beauty of an ephemeral life and the fact that we really do only have today; we only are granted this very moment. And that single moment is quite enough for a human to manage. I've used to say, "Oh, I'm fine. Just taking it one day at a time." I no longer say this when asked how I'm doing. Now I respond, "Just taking it one moment at a time, because even one day is far too much to handle." This has resonated soundly with most folks that hear this, likely because even they know that a singular day is far too much to bite off at once, and when we all take a step back to look at the day in a broader lens, we recognize that even today is a hefty load.
“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 (ESV)
I think part of the problem with wondering how we will face tomorrow is seeing that others around us have seemingly carefree lives and eagerly anticipate tomorrow while we dread tomorrow. In reality, some of us have more visible struggles while others have more invisible struggles, yet we all have a commonality of one thing: not a single human on this planet is promised tomorrow. At any moment, any one of us we could pass from the earth into the embrace of Christ or the harrows of hell, depending on whether or not we have put our faith in Christ as our Savior. This fact is not state to invoke fear, but rather invoke gratitude and an eagerness to live each moment with love and joy, reflecting the glory of Christ to those around us to our best abilities as God's will plays out. The Lord has set a uniquely beautiful plan for each of our lives, and comparison with others robs God of the glory that He deserves, and twists anxiety into our hearts like thorny vines. I am working to overcome comparison, and have over time found that there really is satisfaction found in surrender and submission to Jesus. The Lord has no partiality, and His love for His children is equal across the globe. What a beautiful truth that should shatter our stresses of comparison.
"Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit'—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.'” ~ James 4:13-15 (ESV)
Another challenge of facing tomorrow is that we get far too wrapped up in the future and not involved enough in the present. The present is really all we have. Yes, we anticipate and plan for the future, and it can be wise to do so. However, doing this anticipatory act too much leads to anxiety and fear, and benefits us in no way as Matthew 6:27 confirms, And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?" Anxiety is the theft of tranquility as it wraps its clutching claws around our heart and mind, shattering any ounce of peace and trust that once enveloped us. Recognizing the omnipotence of God and trusting that He will save us and provide for us what we need to endure the singular day and moment in time we have, will drive anxiety into the ground as it shifts our eyes to be fixed upon Christ, who is the founder and perfecter of our faith, instead of dragging our minds and hearts downward into the chasm of burdens we must bear in any of the times to come.
"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You." ~ Isaiah 26:3 (ESV)
Facing the possibility of having a tomorrow can be daunting, but facing it in true surrender with God's promises in our grip and knowing that God is gripping us can pave the path to the potential of the future with peace and joy. What kinds of things does God promise that can bring light to an unnerving journey? Here are a handful of encouraging promises to cling to:
God's mercies are new every morning. (Lamentations 3:22-24)
God promises to not forsake us. (Deuteronomy 31:8)
God knows His plans for our life ahead of time. (Proverbs 16:9)
God will strengthen and uphold us. (Isaiah 41:10)
God will give us rest. (Matthew 11:28)
There is joy in God's presence. (Psalm 16:11)
There is so much peace and beauty in the fact that we are only given today. An ephemeral life sounds blissful to me. I am so thankful that today is really all I have to face, and that I am granted the bright promise of an eternity with Christ, not doomed to a forever on this broken earth. This should soothe and lay to rest any anxieties about tomorrow, and urge us to spread this hope to others that we know so that they too may taste of the Lord's goodness and salvation, and see the true beauty, not the perceived horror, of our life being a vapor. Yes, we can adequately prepare for tomorrow and it is wise to do so, but there is equal, if not more, wisdom in not being so hard set on tomorrow's occurrences, whether positive or negative. Holding our life with an open hand so that God may mold and guide us as He wills, just as a potter does with clay, is the best way to faithfully live the ephemeral life we have. For today, ask yourself, "How can I honor God today? How can He be glorified through my actions and words? How can I love others? How can I share the Gospel? How I can pray?" There are so many Christ-glorifying actions we can do in today's timeframe, despite the struggles of climbing the steep mountains and plodding through dark valleys of life.
"This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." ~ Psalm 118:24 (ESV)
In Psalms, God gives us a beautiful prayer of trust, request for guidance, and surrender that I want to try to better implement into my day's beginning. Trust the Lord, surrendering all of your troubles and joys, and follow in the way that God has laid out for you. You don't have to face tomorrow. Simply face today with dependance on Christ, gratitude for the bountiful blessings that He has given you, and a prayer for peace to shield your heart, mind and soul. Tomorrow is not even in existence. Why worry about facing what doesn't even exist?
"Let me hear in the morning of Your steadfast love, for in You I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to You I lift up my soul." ~ Psalm 143:8 (ESV)