I used the little tab that said ‘July’ on it in colorful, fun letters to flip the pages of my calendar to a new week, a new month, a new spread…only to find a bunch of those little boxes that tell you what your upcoming days hold completely blank.
It made me cringe.
As I sat through the remainder of my Monday morning meeting, I felt the restlessness settle over me.
What on earth did I have to look forward to now?
What is there to countdown to?
What’s going to get me through the mundane routines of adulting…work, laundry, grocery shopping, making dinner, cleaning the bathroom.
If nothing is planned, then what’s tomorrow going to look like?
I hate this feeling.
Being a planner by nature, it’s against my grain to not have something planned; to not have an exciting adventure to anticipate, an itinerary to create, or anything to just get me out of the regular patterns of life.
It’s not even winter so I have no hope for a snow day either! :/
As I retreated to my office and sunk into my chair, faced with the same monitors, the same tasks, and the same blank calendar staring back at me, the despair began to sink in.
“This is it. This is your life. Look ahead several hundred blank squares from now and you’re still going to be doing the same thing. This is it.”
I’ve had to fight these lies before, so it didn’t surprise me much when they resurfaced. The ferocity at which they bombarded my thoughts however did surprise me.
I became restless in my spirit, racking my brain for something I could plan. Unfortunately, having just come off of a week-long vacation, I now have no money and no time off from work left to spare.
I’m stuck, and when I feel stuck, I start grasping at that which is not mine to hold.
That’s when my eyes settled on a sticky note that I’ve had on my desk for several years now that read…
…for I know who holds tomorrow.
Simple. Basic. Pretty straight forward.
But it holds a powerful punch, especially in a moment like this.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 reminds us that ‘we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.’ (2 Cor. 4:16-18 NIV)
We do not lose heart.
We don’t lose heart because though what we see is one day after another wasting away; doing the same thing over and over again with no avail…though it all seems to be wasting away, we are promised a deep renewal day by day that makes us more and more like Jesus!
As I listened to John Piper’s commentary on this passage, I loved how he really focused on the phrase ‘day by day.‘
We read in Matthew 6:34 that we are ‘not to worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.‘ (Matt. 6:34 NIV)
We can go back to the Old Testament then and read in Lamentations 3:22-23 that ‘because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.‘ (Lam. 3:22-23 NIV)
Every day has its own appointed trouble divinely matched with its own new mercies.
Looking ahead to a month of little blank squares quickly causes me to lose heart. It saddens me because I fear a wasted life; I fear one day waking up and realizing that 20 years have passed and I’ve done nothing with them.
Yet, when I read 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 I realize that I have no reason to despair; I have no reason to lose heart because what I am fearing is so far beyond the scope of my own control.
Each day has an allotted amount and certain degree of trouble. In turn, each day also has the appropriate amount of new mercies in which, if tapped into, will produce a renewal, a joy, and a sweet anticipation for each new day greater than any calendar filled with plans ever could.
As we go, one day at a time, we can trust that there will indeed be trouble.
But we can also trust that day by day there will be new mercies, new grace, and new compassions divinely revealed to secure for us victory over the trials and suffering we face every day.
All we have to do is know and trust in the One who holds tomorrow, and the tomorrow after that, and the tomorrow after that.