There’s nothing quite like the awareness of our own mortality to give us a change in perspective. I remember being hospitalized for nearly a month before my daughter was born three months early. Life had become complicated by a rare, life-threatening pregnancy. Each day the hospital chaplain would visit, and she would say, “Just for today.” We took things one day at a time. We couldn’t project the outcome for my daughter or for me. We could pray and hope while we waited to see. If we looked too far into the future, it might overwhelm us. So the chaplain would remind me each day, “You made it another day. Just for today.”
How often and easy it is for my focus to be fixed far off into the future, planning and dreaming, counting on certain experiences and outcomes. Already, I am looking to the fall with my son starting college. I am joyously, if not somewhat anxiously, anticipating taking him to college. But two months lie in between now and that trip. I don’t want to lose these days, these last two months. So while I look forward with gratitude, I also don’t want to run past these moments and how we can make them more significant.
We live in such a future-oriented world, thinking of what we might do and be, which—though sometimes necessary to plan, and even a good thing when done with a proper motivation and recognition of God’s plan for us—can keep us from living this day. And while I do want to live with an eternal perspective with eyes fixed on God, I also want to remember that I’ve been given the gift of today and ask how I can use it for His glory.
Living This Day Highlights God’s Provision
I love these words from the Lord’s Prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11).
Like the manna in the wilderness that God provided each day for the Israelites (Exodus 16), there was enough just for that day. If they gathered more than they needed to store it up, it would spoil. If they gathered less than they needed, there was no shortage. (On the sixth day, they would gather two days’ worth so they could honor the Sabbath on the seventh day, thus providing them rest.)
There was an intended result in their hunger being daily filled: “Then you will know that I am Yahweh your God.” In this miraculous provision, they would see God’s glory, and God would see if they would follow His instructions. They had to trust God that His provision would be there again each day, and it indeed was for the 40 years they spent wandering in the wilderness. God faithfully provided just for the day.
In the New Testament, we come to find that Jesus Himself is the bread of life. Jesus said:
“I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven so that anyone may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread he will live forever. The bread that I will give for the life of the world is My flesh” (John 6:48-51).
So when we ask God to give us our daily bread, we think of His provision for today in that new light. The One who laid down His life for us with that ultimate provision of salvation will also provide for our needs today.
Living This Day Guards Us From Anxiety About the Future
Later in Matthew 6, Jesus tells the multitudes not to be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. We can trust God for today by seeking first His kingdom and righteousness and trusting that all the other things we might worry about (life, the body, clothing, what we will eat and drink) will be provided for us as well.
Living This Day Reminds Us of God’s Faithfulness and Love
In Lamentations 3:22-23, we are told that God’s steadfast love and mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning. Each day gives us a fresh supply of God’s love, mercy, and faithfulness. As sure as the sun rises, God demonstrates again his faithfulness to us in bringing about that new day, in holding together the world he has created, and in supplying us with His mercy and love that never ends. When we awaken to a new day, it’s good to remember this stunning truth.
What if today, I rejoice in God and His faithful provision for me, resist the temptation to be anxious for the future, remember that He is God and that His mercy and love are new this day?
What if today, I simply ask: Will I trust God with this new day? What can I do today to follow God and do His will, to bring Him honor and glory? How can I love and serve those around me today? Where do I see God showing me His glory and providing for my needs?
Just for today.