The Tension of Tomorrow

[Photo by jenniferhopperphoto.com | @jenniferhopper]

Even a cursory reading of the Bible will surface a series of opposing statements; unfortunately, many people choose the shallow assumption that the scriptures are inconsistent, with such contradictory statements as proof.

But to the astute mind, under guidance of the Holy Spirit, perseverance and maturity will find the hidden truths that connect such diametric forces, and in fact tie them together in dynamic tension.

Proverbs 25:2 “It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out.”

All sailors are taught to read the water for wind. They look for “headers,” “lifters,” “puffs,” and anything to help account for changes in the ship’s course and trimming.

They’re also taught to read weather patterns, including time, speed, and placement of fronts.

Being able to forecast wind and weather by eye and feel can be the difference between winning and losing, and sometimes not even finishing.

As summer draws to a close (and I have a hard time even writing that), I’m looking ahead into some interesting waters, the combined elements of which make them appear rather turbulent, though in and of themselves each is quite exciting: A new baby, Eva starting 1st grade, launching my 16th year as youth pastor, grand opening of a new restaurant, self-publishing a trilogy, and preparations for international traveling this fall.

And that’s just September.

How does one even wrap their head around the future and all it will bring? After all Jesus himself said we should plan for what’s to come:

Luke 14:28 “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?”

Yet planning for every facet of a forecast like the one I listed is enough to drive a person mad with anxiety!

The cure for anxiety, however, is as equally forceful as the charge to plan ahead; Jesus speaks to it in the Gospel of Matthew:

Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

So we’re supposed to plan ahead, and we’re not supposed to care about tomorrow?

These are the types of questions I want young Believers to be asking, as it proves they’re reading and trying to digest the Word. Anyone who says the Bible makes perfect sense in their defense of it hasn’t read enough of it; my questions of it only grow.

But so does my confidence in the one who inspired it.

And that’s why I trust his hand on the helm more than I trust my own. If Col. Robert L. Scott could say, “God is my Copilot,” then I can say, “God is my First Mate.”

The tension of tomorrow – as is nearly every other tension proposed in scripture – is tied together, not in a formula or quantitative solution, but in a person.

Yes, wisdom adamantly suggests that I make sound plans in caring for a new infant or launching a new business; and any shrink worth their weight in lima beans would say, “Slow down, enjoy the present, and try not to think ahead too much.” But it’s only the Holy Spirit himself who can order our footsteps in a way that speaks both to the present and the future.

Apart from him, our future-planning can never kiss our present-living.

If you’re a chronic future-planner, when was the last time you took the sails down and set anchor somewhere? And did nothing but sit beside your First Mate?

And if you’re a present-liver only, when was the last time you hoisted the mainsail and started making plans with God, knowing your own ideas are imperfect?

The truth of God-relationship is the only sure cure for knowing when and where to drop anchor, as well as what sail to rig and what course to take. It is God-relationship that ties the tensions of tomorrow together.

The only thing I care knowing more about than the future, and enjoying more than the present, is Jesus. Because without him, both my present and my future are shipwrecked anyway.

It may be my boat, but he owns the waters. ch:

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  • Billy Jepma

    Man, what a great read. You have no idea how awesome that was, I am future-planner all the way, and that means I tend to worry about the future often. So I am constantly reminding myself of Philippians 4: 6-7, which kinda mirrors Matthew 6:34. This coming year is filled w. unknowns for me, from school, to friends moving away, and a job on the horizon. It feels like tomorrow is constantly looming over my head, but you’ve reminded my that God is ALWAYS helping me carry my load. Both present and future. And to enjoy today, and let tomorrow worry about itself. Thanks man, thanks for the good words. 🙂 Much love, Billy

    • So glad my words are relevant for a growing artist like you, bro. Knowing what are tendencies are goes a long way in resting in particular attributes of the Lord.

  • Christian Fahey

    Ah…the power of paradox! Nice balance, C. BTW, very edifying set yesterday with you, JLH and team. Great to be in the house. 🙂

    • I appreciate both compliments, Christian.

      As you’re all too aware of, I was fighting all morning; between technical issues I was overseeing, to “feeling the crowd,” to trying to be sensitive, and just general spiritual attack, it’s reassuring to get such words of encouragement.

      So, when are you up for coffee this week?

      • Christian Fahey

        After work is best for me, C. I’m home usually by 4:15. I’m car-less (lol) until me eldest lass heads for the heather-covered hills. So perhaps a late afternoon or early evening, either here or Lyric. Lemme know what will be easiest for you. 🙂

  • james

    you make my head hurt….

    my fav. part is this “any shrink worth their weight in lima beans would say, “Slow down, enjoy the present, and try not to think ahead too much.” – insightful and entertaining.

    Chris, you should live for today and for your family and for your God – you just don’t know what tomorrow, or if you shall even be gifted a tomorrow, will bring. Plan yes, but live.

    Take that wife out to a movie, take Eva to school for a day, take your boys on a one-on-one outing…

    peace

    • James: I love your constant focus on the family; it’s inspiring to me, and I do take everything you say to heart. Blessings my friend!