February 16, 2012

One day at a time

No one can build a brick wall or a stone fence from the top down. Each brick or stone depends on the ones under it to hold it up. With that image, today’s devotional reading says that “the only preparation for the morrow is the right use of today.”
Part of that right use is being aware that even though “the heart of man plans his way, the Lord establishes his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). I can make plans, but. . . . 

For instance, yesterday I planned to work on a project for my daughter. However, the evening before, my heart did a rapid rumble as if attempting to go into a-fib. I assume the medications prevented this, but just that small episode left me feeling weak. Even after a night’s sleep, I had little energy or ambition. So much for my plans.

God isn’t against making plans, but life and His Word both teach me not to hold too tightly to my agenda. Interruptions and change are simply part of everyone’s existence, never mind those who have ongoing heart problems. God knows what will happen next, but I don’t.
Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. (Proverbs 27:1)
In business, plans are important. Who attempts anything without some sort of procedure in mind. God is not against planning. Rather, His warning is about attitudes of presumption and being in control instead of considering His sovereign power and divine providence.
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.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. (James 4:13–17)
As the devotional reading says, any brick or stone must be put in its place, fitted to receive another. In the same way, tomorrow cannot be lived without giving attention today. One day at a time, trusting God for each day, is the right thing to do. For me, this is encouragement to obey what Jesus said.
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)
These thoughts also remind me of the best advice in the Bible about worry, fretting and anxiety. Not only do these attitudes add more stress to my health struggles, God also has a far better plan. . .
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6–7)

Lord, this is basic stuff, yet I struggle to remember the basics in my concerns over what will happen next. I think about what needs to be done tomorrow and wonder if I’ll even manage even the basics for today. Forgive me for being anxious when I could be praying. Forgive me for planning ahead when I could be trusting You for right now. You bless me in so many ways. I have much to be thankful for, particularly that You offer me that wonderful and unexplainable peace. As I bring my concerns to You, guard my heart and my mind — today!

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