I know I do not handle uncertainty well, but COVID-19 has revealed the depths of how much I rest in careful planning. Perhaps it’s an idol God is shaking from my heart. I especially feel uncertain because I have a daughter getting ready to start college in the fall (and I also teach at a large university). Will universities reopen? What will life look like then? Will anything ever return to normal? How do I plan for my residential classes? What about our finances? What about this? What about that? What about our future health in a COVID-19 world? Can the economy recover?
I can easily become overwhelmed with unanswered questions and my inability to plan for an unseen future. I fortify my heart with the biblical truth of God’s sovereignty, His good plans, and His ultimate control of all things for His purposes. I cannot see what’s ahead, but God can and does. And whatever it is, it will be right.
It will be right.
In the meantime, I recall the importance of today. I don’t have tomorrow; nobody does. But we do have today. We have now.
Jesus tells us in no uncertain terms: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34). We’ve heard this before from the wise king Solomon who wrote, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring” (Proverbs 27:1). James reiterates this wisdom as he argues, “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that’.”
We simply do not have tomorrow.
But we do have today.
I recall the Lord’s prayer and the statement “give us today our daily bread.” What a precious little word: daily. Daily bread. Daily provision. Jesus instructs in Matthew 6 that “this, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.”
I focus on the daily bread–the sustenance I need for today alone. And then I remember another time when God talked about daily bread. It was for another time of great uncertainty, of wandering, and of hardship. It comes from Exodus and refers to the daily bread of manna from heaven that God miraculously provides. It matters that it was a daily miracle, fresh from heaven each new morning. The people were to gather what they needed for that day only (except for gathering for the Sabbath). The people were instructed not to store it for the next day. It’s a curious command, and it makes us wonder why. We read this about the manna in Exodus 16:
The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little. And when they measured it by the omer, the one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little. Everyone had gathered just as much as they needed. Then Moses said to them, “No one is to keep any of it until morning.” However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. So Moses was angry with them.
We cannot store the manna of God’s provision in such a time as this. We need daily bread, and the Lord knows this. He requires it. I’m thankful for a new world in which I cannot see my way ahead. I cannot make plans or store up what I need of God for an unknown future. Instead, He calls me to seek and gather daily bread.
And of course–in the most beautiful and marvelous way– Jesus is our bread of life (John 6). He’s the miraculous provision we need. He’s my daily bread. We come to Him and enjoy His presence each new day. We ask for exactly what we need of Him for this day He’s given us. Not for tomorrow. Today. After all, we don’t have tomorrow.
But we do have today.