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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Day after Today

Matthew 6:34, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

James 4:13-14, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit’; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”

In my youth I had a friend who had five year plans for everything. He had charted out his career trajectory, he had charted out the time he would need to meet, court, propose to, and marry the love of his life, and since he was on the husky side like myself, he had even drawn up a five year plan to shed the pounds, and see once and for all if he had those six pack abs hiding under the adipose tissue, or if he was, as he expected a genetic abnormality with no abdominal muscles to speak of.

It had been close to thirteen year since we last spoke, and oddly enough we got back in touch through Facebook of all things. When I asked him how his five year plans had panned out, his answer was short and clipped: ‘Still fat, still single, still earning minimum wage!’

It is no doubt men and women of every color, creed and nationality love to make plans. We are encouraged to plan for our retirement, to plan for the future, to plan for a rainy day, to plan for the unexpected, and in my country the more prudent and aged folks even plan for their death, buying coffins in their mid fifties, only to see them start to rot up in the attic since they are well into their seventies by now, still above ground, and still breathing in the smoggy air that was supposed to have felled them decades ago.

Men plan for the strangest things, yet when it comes to planning for eternity we have the tendency of putting it off. There are countless souls today who share the misconception that they can wait just a while longer, right up until one minute to midnight, and then with all the repentance they can muster, fall on their faces and recite the sinner’s prayer. What such souls fail to take into account, the part of the equation that upturns the entire notion of having plenty of time to do what we will, is that we cannot be certain of making it to one minute to midnight. The day after today, tomorrow, or the day after are beyond our certitude. Tomorrow is beyond my control, and it is beyond your control as well. Whether I will live another day, or go into the earth from which I came is a knowledge that only God and God alone possesses, one that He does not share with the rest of us, and as such we cannot put off until tomorrow, what we ought rightly do today.

We plan, and scheme, we have growth charts and visibility graphs, all the while forgetting that life is but a vapor that appears for a little while, and then vanishes away. It may just be my melancholy mood of late, but I find myself wondering more and more often whether by our ceaseless worrying about tomorrow we don’t somehow slow our pace toward the eternity that beckons to us, and the home that is waiting for us. What I am certain of, is that in the least it divides our focus and our attention, this worrying about tomorrow, and we are no longer exclusively focused on the kingdom of God, we are no longer exclusively seeking His righteousness, but are divided between planning for tomorrow, and planning for eternity.

Are there moments in which I find myself worrying about tomorrow? Of course, I am human, I have a family, I see the writing on the wall, and the storm that is descending, and on top of that I have close to one hundred children, which I am responsible for feeding and keeping warm so yes, there are moments. No matter how grim the future might seem however, I always catch myself before descending into desperation, or hopelessness, because the promises of God are as a warm blanket on a cold winter’s day for me. The promises of God comfort me, they keep me, they satiate me, and allow me to press ever onward.

We ought not to worry about tomorrow, because there is more than enough work to do today. We ought not to worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow is in our Father’s hands, and He is already there preparing the way for us. We ought not to worry about tomorrow, because this life is not about our tomorrows, but about that instant, that one moment in the eternal expanse of the universe that our tomorrows cease to be and we take our first tentative step into eternity.

In His goodness God forewarns us of what will come tomorrow and the day after, but whether or not we as individuals will be here to see it is another matter entirely. Life is a vapor, it is a fleeting, fragile thing that we often get so used to that we forget to appreciate it. Just like the stars that light the heavens at night, which we take for granted because they are always there, we take this life for granted because in our insolence we think we will be here for many more tomorrows. What if we could see the starts only once a year, or better yet only once a decade? Would we then appreciate them more? What if we realized the beauty of today, and the gift that is life? Would we perhaps cease to worry so much about tomorrow?

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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