For Today

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Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  Matthew 6:34

I’m no exception, I’m one of those who worry a lot about the future, of the ‘what if’s’, of the unknown.  It is tiring to say the least.  There are nights when I could not sleep worrying about my future:  of unpaid bills, of getting the next project, of what my life will be like a few years from now.  Being single and a freelancer has its freedom and perks, but it also comes with some worries.

I’ve read Matthew 6 several times, especially verses 25-34.  These are verses often introduced to the young believers and a comfort for those who have been in the faith for some time.  Though I’m the latter, there are moments that these do not bring comfort.  (Yes, me of little faith!)  How can I not worry when bills are piling up and I start to feel creaks and pain in my body that were not felt a few days ago?

But spending time with my 7yo nephew who has Autism, made the verses 25-34 clearer.  Miguel’s therapists have been teaching him the concept of ‘today, yesterday and tomorrow’.  He has difficulty understanding the concept of ‘yesterday and tomorrow’, but has no problem with ‘today’.  Miguel focuses on ‘today’, the present, the now: what he eats today, the things he could do today, his schedule for the day.  He does not worry about yesterday, more so about tomorrow.  He happily goes about his life, knowing that his parents and family will take care of him for the ‘tomorrows’.  Miguel has faith in his parents and family.

This is what the Lord is asking of me, of us:  to trust Him, to have faith in Him who gave His life for us.  Like Miguel, I could trust in my Lord for He knows everything about me, even my unspoken and hidden desires of the heart.  I could trust my Creator for He created me for His purpose and He works everything for the good of those who love Him.

I could put my faith in Him who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.  The troubles of today are enough: of understanding His word and applying it to the present; of responding in Christ-likeness when you encounter difficult people or circumstance; of being a trustworthy steward even in the little things; of sharing who our Lord and Savior is to our family, friends and the people that cross our paths; and of thanking and praising Him for today’s abundant blessings.

Knowing that the Lord has our back (and front, center, sides, above and below), we could joyfully rest in His peace!

*My reflection on “Breaking Anxiety’s Grip” by Michelle Bengtson

Martha or Mary

You are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed — or indeed only one.

Luke 10:41 (NLT)

Am I Martha or Mary?  Sadly, I’m the one who worries and gets busy with doing a million things.  I tag things as ‘urgent’ and put needless stress on myself.  It’s very tiring and I don’t want it anymore.

I want to be like Mary.   That means changing my ways and thoughts and having the right perspective — which is having the Lord’s perspective.  In the passages above, Jesus says there are few things needed.  (Really? The Martha in me reacts.  How about the deadlines, the meetings, the errands, cleaning, etc?)  But Jesus points out Mary.  Mary knew what was needed and she focused her time, energy and thoughts on that.  She pursued Jesus, listened to Him and meditated on His words.  She let the pressures of the day pass her by. 

Or isn’t it more like ‘because she focused on the important matters, the demands of the day did not press on her.’ 

There was a time when, upon waking, that I would eagerly greet the Lord and meet with Him.  More are the days now that upon waking, I mentally list down the urgent things that I have to do.  When did things turn for me?

Re-reading these passages, I am struck with Jesus’ last words “…and it will not be taken from her.”   I want that!  I don’t want my peace, my joy, my faith to be taken away.  I want all those back!  So, I have to do what Mary did and focus on the essentials:  pursue the Lord, spend more time with Him and meditate on His word.  These are the ‘few that are needed’.  And these will not be taken from me — as promised by my Lord Jesus.

*My devotion based on “Breaking Anxiety’s Grip” by Michelle Bengtson

Faith Dilemma

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Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see

Hebrews 11:11 (NIV)

It is easy to profess “I have faith” when life is sweet and going smoothly.  But life seldom is.  There have been times that my faith wavered.  It happened while I was waiting on God to answer my prayer for writing projects.  I was warned that going freelance would sometimes require waiting for replies to project bids.  I took the advise seriously and waited patiently for days and weeks.  And weeks turned to months.  By the third month, I was frantic and anxious.  I started questioning the Lord as to the wisdom of getting out of the corporate world and going freelance.  I questioned the Lord as to how He would provide for me if I can’t get projects.  I questioned, grumbled and whined.  I could not see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I had a faith dilemma. 

But in one of my quiet times, He brought me to Hebrews 11:1.  It felt like the Lord was asking me where my faith was.  That shook me.  Where was my faith?  Did I really have faith in the Lord?  Or do I have faith only when life is breezy?  What was I putting my hope on — on my abilities or on the faithfulness of the Lord?  Could I even assure myself of a great career?  Isn’t everything — small or big — from the Lord alone? 

I felt so ashamed on realizing the flimsiness of my faith.  I was not suffering nor was I being persecuted like other followers of Christ.  My momentary problem was like a slap on the wrist compared to others and yet here I was whining, grumbling and questioning the Lord.  I repented and spent more time meditating on His word and on thanking and praising the One who knows my every weakness.  The more time we spent together, the more my eyes and heart opened to His constant grace, mercy, lovingkindess and faithfulness.

Months later I realized that the Lord did not open work opportunities for me immediately so I may spend more time with my elderly mother.  Unknown to us, she was already suffering from Alzheimer’s.  Those work-free months gave me the luxury to spend long conversations, lunches, dinners and movie time with my mom.  It was going to be the end of wonderful storytelling and sharing of thoughts with my mother, because soon after, her Alzheimer’s took a sudden and fast turn for the worse.

I thank the Lord for those months that He kept me free from work.  I did not see it as a blessing then for my faith was focused on the tangibles.  But real faith is believing and hoping on Him whose promises are true, even when our eyes cannot see.