As I look forward to 2022, I find myself anxious and distressed. For the past few years, I have done what a lot of people do in place of resolutions in that I ask God to show me a word and Bible verse to focus on for the year. In the weeks leading up to the new year, and a few weeks after, I struggled to find that word. I was beginning to think maybe I just didn’t have a word for this year.
This past year has been rough and 2022 is not off to a good start. My mental health is suffering and I just want to hide from the world. In fact, I took a fast from social media because it all just felt too overwhelming. I was too anxious about tomorrow to absorb what was going on in my life today, much less what was going on with everyone on social media. I was too stressed about building my platform to promote my writing so that one day my book would be published and people would buy it. I needed a break.
Last year was filled with overwhelming financial stress. The end of the year brought alert to what looks to be a serious medical condition that has me on the path of a series of tests to find the root cause. The financial stress of 2021 has been heightened by an issue with our income taxes which, as small business owners, is very complicated. On top of that, my husband, Andrew, and I are dealing with another serious issue that I am not free to disclose as of yet. Each of these things are going to take quite some time to resolve. With all of this going on, I made the difficult decision to set my book aside. My story is not done yet and the storm that is brewing in 2022 is going to be a vital part of it.
Ironically, or maybe by God’s providence, I was in Bible study and the leader challenged us to find a word or verse to focus on for the year. I was frustrated. I don’t have a word! While we took some time for reflection as we listened to a song my word came to me. Survive. At first I thought this sounded like a defeatist word. Am all I supposed to do is survive? “Yes,” God told me, “Survive today.” Just survive today. My husband always encourages me when I’m full of anxiety, “Just do today today.” The verse I needed to focus on this year came quickly after the word came to me.
Do Not Be Anxious About Tomorrow
Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.Matthew 6:24
Matthew 6 talks a lot about God’s provision and our need to trust in him. And trust we must on a daily basis. Do not be anxious about tomorrow. Do today today.
As I continued to seek God for clarity on this calling, he reminded me about the Israelites as they wandered through the wilderness in search of the Promised Land. He delivered them from slavery in Egypt. He provided for their every need. And yet they complained.
And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, and the people of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”Exodus 16:2-3
And still God provided. The men were successful in hunting in the morning and God rained down manna from heaven in the evening (Exodus 16:8). And yet they complained.
And Moses said to them, “Let no one leave any of it over till the morning.” But they did not listen to Moses. Some left part of it till the morning, and it bred worms and stank. And Moses was angry with them. Morning by morning they gathered it, each as much as he could eat; but when the sun grew hot, it melted.Exodus 16:19-21
God faithfully provided, yet the Israelites doubted his provision. How am I any different? I have what I need for today and yet I grumble about the future and doubt tomorrow will be the same. I like the Israelites, see God’s provision and continue to doubt.
All the congregation of the people of Israel moved on from the wilderness of Sin by stages, according to the commandment of the Lord, and camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” But the people thirsted there for water, and the people grumbled against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?”
So Moses cried to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” And the Lord said to Moses, “Pass on before the people, taking with you some of the elders of Israel, and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.” And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel.Exodus 17:1-6
God is Faithful to Provide
And so God provided for the Israelites again. And he provides. And he provides. And he provides. He knows all of our needs and meets them. He provides, not just our physical needs, but also our emotional and spiritual needs.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. Not just some of the days. All of the days. Today. And tomorrow.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.Lamentations 3:22-23
Where I fear I will fall in trusting the Lord to survive each day is that I won’t trust in Jesus. I will trust in myself. I will trust in my own strength. The problem is, I have no strength. I am weak. Only God is strong.
After the Israelites arrived at the opposite shore of the Red Sea, they sang praises to the Lord.
The Lord is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation;
this is my God, and I will praise him,
my father’s God, and I will exalt him.Exodus 15:2
My prayer for this year is that I would be like the Israelites in Exodus 15, praising the Lord for helping me to survive today rather than the Israelites in Exodus 16 and 17 who are worried about God’s provision for tomorrow. I will survive today.