The God of Tomorrow

There is nothing like suspense and anxiety for barricading a human’s mind against the Enemy. He wants men to be concerned with what they do; our business is to keep them thinking about what will happen to them.

C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters    

This quote, from one of C.S. Lewis's great works, is part of a letter written by the demon Screwtape to the junior demon Wormwood. The “Enemy” mentioned here is God.

I have been worried about the future, at various points over the years. To such a degree that I have had difficulty doing anything else. I have some things on my plate right now which make me anxious. As I stumbled on this passage yesterday (while doing research for something different), I realized the trap I had fallen into. So many times. And that it was exactly the spot where Satan wanted me.

If I am anxious about the future, I miss the present moment. I overlook the joy right in front of me. I wander past opportunities to serve and glorify him. It's quite a trap, because each day has its own share of troubles. If you're thinking too much about what might happen tomorrow, you may miss on blessings he has for you now. You will certainly find your thoughts focused on what you can't control anyway.

Jesus talks about this in Matthew 6:

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matt 6:31-34; NIV

The way out of the trap is to seek first his kingdom, and while his kingdom is in the future, the way you seek it is in the present. It means to invest in the things that are eternal. Those things are right in front of you. We are also told to seek his righteousness. God's transforming power and the work of the Holy Spirit are something that you experience today, if you will seek them. Thinking about the troubles that might await you down the line interferes with that.

Part of the silliness in all this is that, as I look back over my life, he was in control, every time I worried. He will be in control again, and one day I will look back on the things that burden me now and realize that I never had a reason to be anxious.

Trusting God with the future leads to peace (Phil 4:6-7; Isa 26:3-4). Tomorrow doesn't exist yet, but when tomorrow becomes today, you can be sure that he will be in control, and will stand with you, if you obey him. He is the God of every day, for all the days that lie ahead.

 

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