All our days may be written in His book, but the only page we get to read is today.
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will]go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” [James 4:13-15]
If someone told me four years ago that I would be married, pregnant with my first child, living in Vietnam, and teaching English to five-year-olds, I would have laughed in disbelief. And yet, the unthinkable has become a reality.
I used to be a dreamer, and dreamers often live with their minds in the future. My current reality has taught me that dreams are good, but it is far better to let go of re-living the past or waiting to live in the future in order to embrace and really relish life in the here and now. Instead of dreaming, I’m learning to trust—-“To trust an unknown future to a known God” as Corrie ten Boom would say.
I’m realizing that knowing all things about tomorrow could steal our joy in the present. Moreover, like a dark cloud, all the problems and troubles ahead of us would overshadow all the good things – the joys, victories, and glorious moments – waiting for us in the future. We would not laugh as hard at jokes if we already knew the punch lines.
Faith is to believe in what we cannot see. Trust is to allow the unseen God to take care of what we do not know…to take care of tomorrow. It’s hard, because we want to see and we want to know. We err in thinking that the present would be more bearable if we could just get a peek into the future. We ask: “Who will I marry?” “How many children will I have?” “What is God’s plan for my life?”
So often, we have all been guilty of uttering statements based on our own predictions: “I’m going to marry this guy.” “I’m going to Canada.” “I’m going to keep this job forever.” Convinced by momentary feelings and wishes, we forget to add “…if it is God’s will.”
And then, everything changes, as happens in the natural course of life. One morning, you wake up and realize that you were living a false reality, telling the world one thing in an attempt to convince yourself of it. You shake yourself and admit the truth: “He was never the right guy for me” or “I don’t even like winter, so why on earth would I want to live in Canada?” or “There’s a better job out there waiting for me.” You also begin to understand that some friendships are seasonal and death might bring an end to your idea of “being inseparable”. Everything changes, and that is the natural course of life.
One of the hardest things in life is to look the world in the eye after a false prediction turns to dust, and you have to admit you got it wrong or just don’t understand it all. It is not easy to explain a returned engagement ring, a divorce, a failed business endeavor, or an obstacle that prevented your plans from coming to fruition. What do you say to those around you when you return from the hospital with an empty womb and empty arms? Your loss, disappointment, and grief is shared with the same people with whom you would have otherwise rejoiced.
When I started this blog, I thought I would never run out of new stories of hope to share, never realizing that one day I might get stuck on a page where everyone around me was speaking another language; and even if they could tell their stories, I would not be able to understand them. So, I am left to share my own story of hope: that there is a time, reason, and season for all things, and God’s timing is perfect. When we wait on the Lord, we can look forward to the “unveiling” of His will for our lives, and His will toward us is always good.
Believe me, I would love to know what on earth I am doing here, except for the dishes and the washing that seem to pile up (no matter where in the world you live). However, I trust that there is a reason for being right here, right now, in the story of our lives which is yet being written by the hand of God. Out of context, one single page in life may not seem to make much sense; but when the next chapter has been written, everything in the past and present will make perfect sense.
Today is a beautiful page in a story, and hope is often found in the middle of what feels like a very ordinary day, hidden between the dirty laundry and the secret morning prayers. I know I can always rest in His love and fall into His arms, knowing that He will never let me fall because “love never fails”. I also know that hope never disappoints us if it is well-placed in His perfect love and will. Therefore, I will rejoice in today, knowing who holds my tomorrows.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” [Matthew 6:25-27]