I have always been a somewhat care-free, go with the flow personality. I have moved a lot and lived in big towns, small towns, had seasons of plenty and seasons of loss. Coming from pioneer roots, you are taught to make do with what life gives you and work with it.
In the bigger picture of my world, I had a pretty easy childhood with no over-the-top drama. Life was good and I was taken care of.
Anyone want to hang at the lake, order a pizza and watch a good movie? That was a typical weekend.
But in time, the innocence of those days moves on. The care-free spirit has to maneuver through the trials of life and the flow down that stream isn’t always a bubbling brook sort of experience.
The circumstances of life can set in and we find that the water is no longer the same.
In fact, it can be the equivalent of ice cold rapids that shock your system, threatening to pull you under and take your breath away, as you are dashed against the rocky edges and churning currents of a course you have no control over.
Trying to find a channel that leads back to that gentle stream is useless because life never goes backwards. It can only continue on, traveling the path that carries us along to a place that at times, we don’t want to go.
No one wants illness, financial struggles, broken relationships or any sort of pain to thrust them into the rapids, but the reality is that they are often non-avoidable, despite our best efforts to hold them off. Life happens, so they say.
I have learned though, that anyone who has ever experienced the adventures of a ride down the rapids, never does so without a life preserver securely attached to their body. They plan and prepare for the rough waters, so that at the end of the day, no matter what happens, they have a good chance of staying afloat.
I can remember a time when I was especially discouraged and was trying to maneuver through the channels of circumstances. Life was looking bleak and I needed some encouragement because I just could not muster up that “happy place.”
There had been some strained relationships, financial stress and I was sitting outside in a high wind storm watching the brand new shingles blow off of the roof of our house. I remember thinking, “I give up Lord, I am done, you may take me home now because I am weary and tired.”
Elijah has been there. Jonah and Job, why not me, right?
Here was his answer straight and simple. “My mercies are new every morning.”
That’s it, I thought? Did I hear that right? With all that’s going on, that is the answer?
I heard it clearly again when I read the Lord’s prayer. “Give us this DAY, our daily bread.”
It was no coincidence when I read about God providing manna to the Israelites in the wilderness that he told them to only collect what they could eat for that DAY because anymore would rot.
This theme from God to me appeared in Matthew, where Jesus says “don’t worry about tomorrow, for each day has enough worry for itself.”
This, I realized was God throwing me a life preserver that would keep me afloat.
He was telling me that He will only give me what I need for right now. He will get me through today. There will be days that are very hard. Seasons that are overwhelming and circumstances that are beyond my control. But for this day, I will have what I need.
This has helped me to know how to pray more specifically and what to ask for. When I or someone I am praying for is struggling, I ask that God would give encouragement or joy or an answer, something to get them through for today.
Just as a life-preserver doesn’t automatically eject a person out of the water and onto the safe shore, neither does our God always rescue us immediately from our circumstances.
As well, a life-preserver can carry us through the rapids and leave us afloat until we hit the calm waters. So can God’s daily bread, his manna and new mercies, hold us fast for today and in the moment.
Tomorrow will come and with it an opportunity for fresh, renewed provision.
Whether we are floating along with the brook, or tubing down the rapids, for today…He’s got it covered.