The IV pump beeped. The heart monitor dinged with another routine alarm. The ventilator whooshed a steady rhythm, maintaining the feeling of life in the body lying in the hospital bed. As I sat and watched the sheet rise and fall with each artificial breath, I waited…waited for something. Anything but the monotonous drone of the machines. I waited for movement, for life to return.
As I gripped the strong hand that had disciplined me, comforted me, and instructed me, I silently begged for that big hand to squeeze back. As each day passed, and the hand stayed limp, I simultaneously anticipated and dreaded what tomorrow might bring. Maybe tomorrow would be different. Maybe tomorrow the hand would move. Maybe tomorrow he’d wake up…
Eventually, tomorrow brought sorrow.
Deep, gut-wrenching sorrow that I thought would never end. Tomorrow brought tears, loneliness, and heartache. Tomorrow brought grief and pain.
Yet, slowly over the next year or two, tomorrow also brought healing. The days spent traveling through grief brought me into a deeper knowledge of God and His infinite love and care. Even though it hurt, God hadn’t left.
During those days, I felt drawn with an irresistible pull toward Psalms. Over and over again I’d turn to the pages where David recorded his sorrow, his uncertainty, and his suffering and I’d meditate on how God always brought the psalmist through to his tomorrow. The page containing Psalm 61 in my Bible became crinkled and worn from spending so many days reading and rereading that passage:
It begins with:
“Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I…
It ends with:
So will I sing praise unto thy name for ever…”
If God did that for David, He could do it for me too. He could lead me from despair to praise. He could take me to tomorrow.
Now, 9 years after my own saddest tomorrow, sometimes tomorrow still scares me.
There are days I just don’t want to have to keep going. I just want everything to freeze. I want my little boys to keep giggling and wrestling on the couch. I want the internet radio to keep playing “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” as I clean up the kitchen after dinner. I want my husband to keep leaning against the kitchen counter next to me, keeping me company as I load the dishwasher…
I want time to stop.
Because tomorrow might bring sorrow. Tomorrow might bring fear. Tomorrow might bring something I don’t want to face.
But time doesn’t stop. Every evening, the sun sinks below the horizon only to rise again in majestic glory the next morning on the other side of the sky, beginning a new tomorrow.
Is there a way I can choose not to fear those tomorrows?
This past week I talked to a dear mentoring friend, a mom of 6 grown children. She walked beside me through my own time of grief 9 years ago, and she has also walked through many painful tomorrows herself. Her simple perspective on life radiates wisdom and trust. She reminded me that yes, life will sometimes bring sorrow, but life will also bring joy. And for us as Christians, any joy we experience in this life pales in comparison to the everlasting joy we will experience in Heaven.
So simple, yet so profound.
Jesus said it this way, “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” God doesn’t want me to spend my days worried about tomorrow. He wants me to take every thought captive.
If I begin to fret and worry, I need to return to the One Who holds all things in His sovereign hands. The One Who sees my life from the end to the beginning. I need to trust Him and His plans for me. I know those plans include sorrow…some of it has already happened. But those plans also include unbelievable joy, culminating in the ultimate joy of seeing my Savior face to face.
If you, like me, are struggling with fear while waiting for tomorrow, I’d like to encourage you to go read Philippians 4. My wonderful husband encouraged me to do that a few days ago after I expressed my fear to him and what a amazing peace it gave! Focus on verses 4-13. If your mind often becomes consumed with the worry and fear, memorize Philippians 4:8. Every time you find yourself fearful, anxious, or worried, recite the verse to yourself. God tells us what to think about. Think on those things.
And as we all continue our wait for tomorrow, let it be with an attitude of peace and trust, knowing that God who has begun a good work in you will perform it unto the day of Jesus Christ.
Let’s live each day 100% there. Take hold of each day and live it to the fullest. Love the ones you hold dear…laugh with them, play with them, enjoy them immensely. Hug, listen, and be fully present.
Every day is a precious gift. Don’t waste it worrying about tomorrow.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”