Jesus tells us not to worry about tomorrow as each day has enough worries of it’s own. In Exodus God supplied enough food for each day only, forcing His people to look to Him for their provision rather than their own cleverness or hard work. When God and wise Christians tell me to be faithful to the tasks in front of me today, trusting God for tomorrow I nod in agreement while internally I am still seeking security in what I can do, planning, worrying and fretting.
I’m going to quit working and will live by faith. I have come to realize that although I’ve not thought of myself as an anxious person, I do in fact worry a lot about the future for myself and my family. Jesus tells us not to do this so I have decided it is time to take a step of faith and trust God’s promises for provision (see Matthew 6:25–34).
On freeing the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt, one of the first issues to arise was the logistical problem of feeding hundreds of thousands of people. God took care of this by providing manna each morning (except on the Sabbath) which the people were to gather and cook for food. To ensure the Israelites only gathered what they needed for the day and didn’t stockpile the stuff, God made it go rotten if kept overnight (except on the Sabbath). So they had to go out each day to gather enough for that day. Anxiously hiding away extra ‘for a rainy day’ would result in an awful stink and maggots growing in it.
Written for us
Paul tells us that these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come (1 Corinthians 10:11). We have a big thick Bible with Exodus included in it so that we will learn spiritual lessons from what God has done in the past (see also 1 Corinthians 10:1–5).
Your goal is to get into a manna rhythm. Seek his grace today, be faithful to the tasks in front of you, and trust him for tomorrow (Ed Welch, Depression, A stubborn Darkness p150).
Such a manna rhythm is something that honours God. It is an attitude which acknowledges that all we have comes from Him. It is an attitude of humility, trusting that God knows what He is doing, is faithful to His promises and will always provide what I need as I need it.
Now the rubber hits the road
That’s not to say it is easy though. I prove day after day my mistrust of God’s promises, embracing assumptions which highlight a lack of faith in God by my choices to work at improving myself by human means. Allowing weakness to become an excuse for not fighting for joy. Letting physiology over-ride love.
Changing these things is a daunting mountain. I do try to overcome this obstacle, and this is where I’m going wrong. God is calling me to seek grace daily for the tasks of today. He is not asking me to worry about the mountain, He calls me to follow Jesus. Step, step, step, step. Jesus even calls me His friend. We can chat on the way. What He does require is that I trust Him. Trusting promises such as:
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV).
But I fall and fail. It is so easy to look at my own weakness and failings (sin) and interpret the situation as meaning this promise cannot be true because I have sinned so that settles it. Whereas perhaps it is more like I have given up on enduring, or have not accepted the way out. Giving up too early or hanging around too long can open me up to sin.
God’s promise is that he will never put us in a situation where we have no choice but to sin (Ed Welch, p201).
Sin is not only actions, I have sinful thoughts more often than I do sinful actions. Temptations are not limited to lust or coveting, despair and joylessness can be lure me in also. Whether Satan skewers me with sex or suicide probably makes little difference to him. The roots of sin and temptation go very deep into my heart, it is difficult for me to discern where each temptation originates, this is like guerrilla warfare against my own heart (James 1:14–15, Jeremiah 17:9 and 1 Peter 2:11). It is serious stuff, subtle – but of eternal consequence.
In the mind of God, sin is a much more serious problem than suffering (Ed Welch, p202).
I’m too busted for a DIY job to be feasible, only God can fix my sin. So working at a patch up job is simply making the mess worse, yet there remains a job to be done. My job is to keep trusting in Jesus Christ when my anxious thoughts are wanting to scheme ways to look after myself.
So I remind myself
God is calling me to seek grace now for the tasks of today.
Photo of sleeping construction worker: iStockphoto