Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (NIV)
So easy to read, so hard to live out! It is rarely the precise present moment that concerns us. We are more likely to be worried about some future possibility. So Jesus reminds us not to worry about the future but focus on the present: there is enough in this very day to occupy us without us adding tomorrow’s concerns onto it. In saying it in this way, Jesus is not blithely assuring us that no bad thing might cross our path. He is simply saying that we will receive good grace to handle that bad thing at the proper time.
Trying to wrestle with future worries means we do so without the help of God. This is so because, strictly speaking, the future is not real: it hasn’t yet happened. So God can’t actually be with us in that future possibility. It has no reality. So when we worry about the future we are worrying about a nonentity and worrying all by ourselves. Today is real and God is with us today. He will enable us to handle what concerns us today.
Another problem with worrying about the future is that it spoils the present. I may be surrounded by lots of good things today but cannot enjoy them because I am focused on what might or might not happen in the future. I let the possibilities of tomorrow rob me of the certainties of today. How many hours have we wasted worrying about something that eventually doesn’t happen!?
It takes discipline to take life one day at a time. Because there is a sense in which we do have to think of the future. We are bound to make plans and think through contingencies. It is foolish not to wrestle with issues and only do things at the last minute. Jesus is not telling us not to think about the future. He is telling us not burden ourselves with it. By all means do some advance thinking, but always in the awareness that we will get the grace to handle the future when it comes, not now. God gives us our “daily bread” day by day not in bulk quantities. And always in the awareness that we simply don’t know how things are going to sort themselves out. The future is a foreign country for us: it is an as yet unknown landscape.
Not knowing what is around the corner can cause us to be anxious. Knowing who is around the corner can cause us to trust that he who is good to me today will be good to me tomorrow.