By Gretchen Fleming
Boy, do I know how to borrow trouble?!
My mind thinks, “Why waste time when I can worry about tomorrow, today?”
It is in my nature as a “planner” and a “fixer” to fret over what MAY happen. “Hope for the best and prepare for the worst” is my motto.
Jesus has been teaching me much these last years about “letting go”, as in worrying about the future or trying to prepare too far in advance. I can worry and fret about things that may never actually become a reality!
In essence, worry is feeling bad about what HASN’T happened.
What a waste of time AND emotion?!
I was reminded of this as I read through Exodus 16 and saw how intrinsic it was for some of the Israelites to try and gather enough manna for tomorrow’s need. They had been instructed by Moses to only gather enough for today. They were NOT to gather more than they needed for that one day.
When the LORD rained the manna down from heaven, which was a miracle in and of itself, He gave the specifics about the limitations as a test of their obedience- to see whether they would follow His instructions (Exodus 16:4-5). God always has an intention to benefit our faith through any and every means. Even the simple act of acquiring food was to have the goal of building trust and obedience in the Israelites.
By giving the limit of how much they were to gather, this tested whether they would trust Him to meet tomorrow’s need. It seems human nature to live in God’s provision and faithfulness today, but then fret about the likelihood of it happening tomorrow.
I know this tendency first hand.
God humbled me profoundly in my oldest son’s eighth-grade year concerning this issue. My son was in a wonderful Christian school but it was very challenging for him as he struggled with the class work. It took so much effort and time for him due to the fact that the school had more of an honors based curriculum and he had an auditory processing learning disability. We almost pulled him out twice that year for me to homeschool him because the stress and strain were so difficult.
As we had already decided to transfer him to the local public high school the next year, I began to live in such angst over his ability to make it through high school. I had loved all the support he received in the smaller Christian school community and although it had a rigorous curriculum, he had the help he needed.
What would happen when he was a stranger, one of hundreds, in the public high school? We knew he could not stay any longer where he was but would it get any better if he went somewhere else? How would he ever make it through? And what would we do if he didn’t succeed there?!
I remember wringing my hands in worry and the feel of impending doom. I was working myself into a fit.
And then came God’s response to me…
“How has he done so far? Has he made it through? Has he even received D’s or F’s? Has he failed any grade? Why do you, Gretchen, spend so much time and energy worrying about tomorrow instead of thanking Me for all that I have done for him thus far?! I have been faithfully providing for him through all the yesterdays and today. Why are you fretting when you should be thanking?!”
I was robbing God of glory!
He was right! My oldest had made it through so far and why was I getting so worked up? Why was I presuming what would happen as he transferred to the “unknown” next phase of his life?
Immediately two Scripture passages came to my mind. Matthew 6:34 says,
” Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own .”
I was borrowing trouble from tomorrow when I had no idea what tomorrow may hold for us. I was fearing what may happen. What a harmful way to spend my time?! Whining to God about tomorrow when I should have been thanking Him for yesterday was not the way of faith.
The second passage was 1 Samuel 7:12,
” Thus far has the Lord helped us.”
I was convicted of how “thus far” the Lord had only been faithful to my family by giving grace upon grace to get my son through a private school education. It may have been difficult, but he had made it through and with good grades.
To make a long story short, my oldest son did so much better in high school. He thrived there. I remember his senior year and looking at his honor roll certificate and thinking back to his eighth grade year.
I was so humbled.
I thought of God’s faithfulness and how ridiculous I had been to worry when God knew all along how well he would do.
So just as some of the Israelites failed the test, so had I. The hardest lessons are some of the most valuable though, the ones remembered most clearly.
Better to ponder all the miracles “thus far”, than fret over what may or may not happen in the future.
Since that time, I leave tomorrow for tomorrow, because I have enough manna to praise Him for today!
Gretchen Fleming is a Bible study teacher and speaker at Four Oaks Community Church in Tallahassee, Florida. Active in women’s ministry for over 20 years, Gretchen has ministered to women in the United States, China, Peru, and Guatemala. She and her husband Kyle have raised three children and live in Jacksonville, Florida. You can connect with her on her blog or on Instagram.