Jehovah was not in the wind. And after the wind, an earthquake: Jehovah was not in the earthquake.
And after the earthquake, a fire: Jehovah was not in the fire. And after the fire, a soft gentle voice. (1Kings 19:11-12)

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

When You are Tempted to Store Grace for Tomorrow {Words of Life Wednesdays ~ A Link-up}

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"So do not worry about tomorrow;
for tomorrow will care for itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own."
{Matthew 6:34}

A tornado ripped through a neighbourhood close to home as I plopped frozen chicken in the cast iron frying pan for supper. 

The storm had circled around all day as dark clouds unleashed water upon the thirsty ground. Lighting flashed and thunder rumbled as the wind stirred up the kid toys out back. We dashed through the activities for the day in case we lost electricity. 

Now, as I heard the news and watched more rain thrash around the bent ash trees in the backyard, I left the chicken in the pan and told the children that we were going downstairs to let this storm pass. We took shelter down in the basement and stayed up-to-date on Twitter with endless tweets with the hashtag #ONstorm. I texted friends that live on the street that was hit and was thankful to receive the replies that they were all safe.

It was an ugly storm that had my son in a panic with the news of a tornado just outside his friend's front door.

Families have been left without a roof over their heads. Fences and two-by-fours have been blown to pieces and scattered like toothpicks. Shingles, plywood, siding, blue boxes, and tractor trailers are twisted about the row of houses and beds and couches and other parts of people's lives no longer furnish the rooms of their homes, but are left like a heap of rubbish. 

A state of emergency has been declared.

Just before the storm blew in I had been googling severe aortic valve stenosis and the statistics I read left me weighted down as this severe storm has ripped through my life and leaves me broken and overwhelmed. I knew that if left untreated my severe aortic stenosis is lethal. What I had not read before were some of the statistics. I was left with a storm raging inside, threatening to bring me down. 

Why do I turn to statistics to tell me how bad things are? It's pretty clear when I do a quick scan around me and watch how storms level homes in seconds, divorce destroys families every day, costs of living dries up the money before the end of the month, and diseases with poor prognoses cut short people's years.

I don't need statistics to tell me how much suffering and heartache there is in the world. We can count on sorrow and hardship to be added to our days. We are not excluded from future tribulations.

But we can be free from worrying about the troubles of the future by growing in faith.

I had started the day soaking in words from the Studies in the Sermon on the Mountoriginally spoken by the distinguished doctor turned powerful preacher, Martyn Lloyd-Jones.

All day I have to keep preaching them to my own weary soul.


"If the present is bad enough as it is, why go to meet the future? To go on from day to day is enough in and of itself; be content with that. Worry about the future is so utterly futile and useless; it achieves nothing at all. We are very slow to see that; yet how true it is. Indeed we can go further and say that worry is never of any value at all. This is seen with particular clarity as you come to face the future. Apart from anything else, it is a pure waste of energy because however much you worry you cannot do anything about it. In any case its threatened catastrophes are imaginary; they are not certain, they may never happen at all.  
"But above all that, says our Lord, can you not see that, in a sense, you are mortgaging the future by worrying about it in the present? Indeed, the result of worrying about the future is that you are crippling yourself in the present; you are lessening your efficiency with regard to today, and thereby you are reducing your whole efficiency with regard to that future that is coming to meet you. 
"Every day has its problems; some of them are constant from day to day, some of them vary . . . We have to take it day by day.
" . . . Never try to anticipate God. As you must not anticipate your own future, do not anticipate God's future for you. Live day by day; live a life of obedience to God every day; do what God asks you to do very day . . . You must learn to trust God day by day for every particular occasion, and never try to go ahead of Him. 
" . . . as we learn in wisdom to take our days one by one as they come, forgetting yesterday and tomorrow, so we must learn the vital importance of walking with God day by day, of relying upon Him day by day, and applying to Him for the particular needs of each day . . .  
" . . . worry is always a failure to grasp and apply our faith. Faith does not work automatically . . . faith does not grow automatically either; we must learn to talk to our faith and to ourselves. We can think of it in terms of a man having a conversation with himself about himself and his faith . . . The child of God talks to himself; he reasons with himself, he shakes himself and reminds himself of himself and his faith, and immediately his faith begins to grow . . .  
" . . . Faith means refusing to think about worrying things, refusing to think about the future in that wrong sense . . . Faith is refusing to be burdened because we have cast our burden upon the Lord."
When the tornado warning has lifted for our area, we climb back upstairs to eat our supper. I slice up the half frozen chicken in the cold cast iron, turn the heat on, and cut up carrots, cucumber and celery sticks while the chicken warms up. I tell my son not to worry. I whisper the same to my own storm-tossed self. He tells me it would be a lot easier if he knew the future. I assure him that really it wouldn't. Sometimes the future is too much to handle today. Our conversation lingers a little longer and then he goes off to play with his Lego and I'm left with my own thoughts on storms and life and how we face the future.

I do the next thing and make chicken, bacon and lettuce wraps for supper with raw veggies on the side while I pray for the families that were saved from the tornado, but now have to face the wreckage of the storm.

All I can do is live each day as it comes.

I take refuge for today's storms.

I refuse to take thought for tomorrow's troubles.

I cannot store grace for tomorrow, but His grace is sufficient for today.

*photo credit: Lana Robertson



5 comments:

  1. So many "things" trouble me, swirl around in my mind about my future, our children and their futures...the what-ifs the what if nots! Last night at a not so major baseball game, I ended up seeing my son in a mediocre performance that left me feeling defeated, deflated. Lots of self-talk and prayer resulting when I finally fell into bed at midnight. Mainly about what is important to God and what I say I trust Him with, but don't. Thanks for this beautiful story and the chance to link up.

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  2. Thank you for sharing this story Rebekah- authentic reflections and truths that we all need to hear. Thankful that He is right there with us in the storm; holding us together.

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  3. I didn't know they got tornadoes that far north. Thankfully no one was hurt! I think it was notable that after the warning, you continued & made your family a delicious healthy meal . God's Word is powerful & Jesus knows exactly what we need...why worry about tomorrow... we have enough things to think about today? And trust means we give to God the things we are not meant to carry! He is our Father & cares for us! Love & prayers, in Jesus, Cynthia

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  4. So makes me think of the verse, "So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today." It's so true, isn't it? But God's grace is sufficient for today. Thank you for how you share your heart, Rebekah. Keeping you in my prayers. Much love. xoxo

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  5. This line, "He tells me it would be a lot easier if he knew the future. I assure him that really it wouldn't. Sometimes the future is too much to handle today." Wow. Thank you.

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