Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Matthew 6:34
This is January. We spend our time reflecting on the year behind us and setting goals for the year ahead; we make resolutions, we get excited. We can’t wait to charge forth into that splendid new year and grab it by the throat and show it what we’re made of. We stare into the future, drooling for the next twelve months to come and get us.
We tell everyone what we’re going to do in the whole new year that’s coming.
We forget that we might not live to see tomorrow.
I am as guilty – probably more guilty – as anyone else of worrying about the future. I don’t just worry; I obsess over it, until worry can become paralysing terror. I wish I was the only one who had to live with fear of the future. But I’m not. There are millions of you out there, people who are afraid, people who see the dawn coming and feel the vice grip of terror clench around their hearts. Look at us, a generation of worriers, dropping like flies from stress-induced sickness, stuffed so full of heart pills and blood pressure pills and anxiety pills that if we were shaken, we’d rattle. I’m not even talking about the generation as in the 30-year-olds and other people in the prime of their lives. I’m talking about *my* generation, the teenagers: we walk around smiling through our depression, pulling down our sleeves to mask the cuts on our arms we inflict on ourselves, starving ourselves in an attempt to fit in. Why do we do this? Because we’re scared! We need addictions or pills or people just to make us feel better!
Would we need any of those if we knew how fragile we really are? If we lived in the liberating knowledge that today might be the last day we have left?
Do I sound depressed? I’m not surprised. Depression is a blight on my life, but it taught me this: We could be dead tomorrow. When you’re depressed, you learn how easy it can be to die. But the difference between depression and living in the moment is that when you’re depressed, you’re at once afraid of and longing for the imminence of death. When you live in the moment, you know death could come at any moment – and you’re okay with that.
You’re okay with that because you live each moment like there is no moment to follow. You’re okay with that because you speak every word like it could be your last. You’re okay with that because you part with your loved ones, every time, like you might never see them again.
If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, would you waste today, or would you use it to change the world? If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, would you have that fight with your boyfriend, or would you give him the benefit of the doubt and ask forgiveness? If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, would you walk past that beggar sitting on the streets or would you try to make his tomorrow a better one? If you knew you were never going to speak to your parents again, would you scream that “I hate you” that sits like acid in your mouth, or would you submit and try to understand?
It’s a tragedy that it takes terminal illness or death itself to open the eyes of so many people to this truth. Yet it doesn’t have to. The words are there in our great guide to life, the Bible, the living Word of God. “Give no thought for the morrow,” Jesus says. “You have enough to worry about today.”
It’s when we’re worrying about the problems on their way that we miss out on fixing the problems that are here.
Do I sound morbid? If I do, you have work to do. To the unsaved soul, there is no knowledge more terrifying than knowing that any breath could be your last. You cling to the fragile life you have, frightened of any dangers, terrified to try in case failure is fatal. You are so paralysed by the knowledge that you could be dead tomorrow that you can’t even live today. I know, because I’ve been there.
But to the soul of the saved, this truth liberates. Because if a true Christian knew he was going to die tomorrow, he would dance. He would sing and rejoice, he would scream out the news. He would be going home. He would know exactly where he was going and comprehend a small part of how wonderful the coming life is. Fear would be the last thing on his mind. Death can’t touch us. We are the children of the God who is Love, which is stronger than death; and passing from this world and into the next holds no terror for one who comprehends the greatness of the gift Jesus gave us when He died on that cross.
Jesus might call you home at any moment. Are you ready to meet Him? If not, what are you waiting for? Do do it later? A later that might not come?
Live like there is no tomorrow! Because there might not be one! Because what do you have to lose if you live each day like it might be your last? Nothing, and you have so much to gain. You don’t have to be afraid of tomorrow! It might never come.
And oh, how shallow, how pitiful this argument would be if that was all there was too it. If I could say nothing more than “Don’t be scared, because you’ll be dead soon”, there would be nothing left. No hope. But I can say so much more to you, there is so much more truth to this story. Because here is the whole truth: You don’t have to be afraid of tomorrow. Whether it comes or not, whether you live or die, you belong to the Lord God Who is bigger than any problems you will ever face. He’s got your back, He’s on your side, and He’s going to take care of it. There is nothing in your future, however long it may be, that scares Him. You have absolutely no reason to be afraid, because your God is with you.
There is nothing to fear when you know that the most powerful thing in the whole entire world made you and saved you, is all around you, is within you; you can receive it, you can hold it close, and you can even give it; and the more you give, the more you get. What is this thing? It’s love. It’s God. There is no difference between true love and our God. And He loves you.
So go out there and seize this day like it’s the last day on this earth that you have to seize. This isn’t really life, not yet; what is to come is so much better. But here, in this life, we can make mistakes and we can regret. Every single moment is a gift from God; treat it that way, and use it wisely. If you don’t, you will either die knowing that it was the last thing you did and you can never go back and fix it, or you will live to regret it.
Use every moment! Tomorrow is a gift we might not receive! Today is a treasure we have, here and now!
Go out there and shine today. The world needs your light. It’s the light of God, burning inside you.
It’s so easy to say it. It looks so simple on paper. In practice, it will be your life’s battle, should you choose to fight it; and yes, this is war. Spiritual war, and you are a warrior. It’s better than being a worrier. It’s a daily fight, sometimes an overwhelming struggle against the threatening darkness. It’s a fight you’ll fight for most of your life, but rest easy in this knowledge: The rest of your life could be hours, days or decades. But however long it is, it is exactly the right length.
Because our God is in control, and He’s on our side.