How many times do you find your peace in tomorrow and not today? How many times are you looking ahead to what is next? I cannot wait until this day is over. I cannot wait until winter break. I cannot wait until this project at work is over. I cannot wait until summer when the warm weather comes back, and I can go on vacation. I cannot wait until my kids are old enough to drive themselves around. I cannot wait until the time comes when I can retire and do what I want.
These are not all my thoughts, although I can definitely identify with some of them. You probably can as well. They are all thoughts that look ahead, placing your rest, your joy, your peace, in something that is to come.
Then you will have peace. Then things will be different. Then you will be happy.
I have recently been challenged by this way of thinking, and it is something I have always sort of known. I will often look ahead, and it is good to look ahead, to plan, and be ready. However, Jesus also speaks a lot about today; finding rest, contentment, and joy in today.
One of Jesus’ disciples, Matthew, gives us what has become a very familiar passage:
25 “Therefore, I say to you, don’t worry about your life, what you’ll eat or what you’ll drink, or about your body, what you’ll wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds in the sky. They don’t sow seed or harvest grain or gather crops into barns. Yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth much more than they are? 27 Who among you by worrying can add a single moment to your life? 28 And why do you worry about clothes? Notice how the lilies in the field grow. They don’t wear themselves out with work, and they don’t spin cloth. 29 But I say to you that even Solomon in all of his splendor wasn’t dressed like one of these. 30 If God dresses grass in the field so beautifully, even though it’s alive today and tomorrow it’s thrown into the furnace, won’t God do much more for you, you people of weak faith? (Matthew 6)
Think about this for a moment. You have a field with a bunch of different plants, some that seem useful and others that seem to be just weeds. This field could be in an area that people walk by every day. On the other hand, this field could be in an area that nobody will ever see, yet still, there in the midst of the field, you will find something full of beauty and wonder.
Contentment, joy, peace, and even happiness are there not only tomorrow but also today. Look for the joy around you today. Look for the beauty. Look for the peace. All of those things are there. He is there.
31 Therefore, don’t worry and say, ‘What are we going to eat?’ or ‘What are we going to drink?’ or ‘What are we going to wear?’ 32 Gentiles long for all these things. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 Instead, desire first and foremost God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore, stop worrying about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6)
Today, not tomorrow, in the midst of your busy life or in the midst of your troubles, find rest and peace, not in your circumstances, but in who God is and in His creation, His beauty, His presence, and His love.
(All scripture cited above from Common English Bible Copyright © 2011)