A Slice Of Life To Go is an online Christian blog written by Todd Thompson. It encourages people to see the beauty in ordinary moments and to know God’s unconditional, unfailing love in everyday life.

The Unknown

July 2nd, 2007

Years ago my good friend Fred told me about a delightful conversation he had with his then 3-year old grandson, Nathan. Nathan was just about to have another birthday.

“Grandpa, I don’t want to be 4. I want to stay 3.”

“Why is that?”

“Because after you turn 4, then you turn 5.”

“What’s wrong with that?”

“Because when you turn 5 you go to kindergarten and they make you spell hippopotamus…and I don’t know how!”

We’ve all been there. The unknown. We look ahead. We wonder. We worry. What waits for us? Will we be ready? Are we up to the challenge? Little Nathan was doing the “double jump ahead”; fearing an unknown twice removed from his present moment. We laugh at the story because we’ve done it, too.

President Calvin Coolidge said, “If you see ten troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you.” The wisdom being “don’t borrow trouble”. While President Coolidge’s advice is comforting, if you’re like me, instead of being relieved that nine troubles are dead in a ditch, you worry like crazy about the one trouble that will end up making the trip. What will it be? What will it look like? How will it affect me? We “what if?” ourselves into a tizzy.

What if…?

What if…?

What if…?

Allowed to run unchecked, our minds are masterful at creating imaginary crisis. Yet unless we’re terribly neurotic or boringly rich, rarely do we sit around and manufacture crisis out of thin air. Our worry usually stems from genuine present moment troubles. That one trouble that makes it down the road to our door. A chronic health problem. Financial pressure. An unstable job situation. A teenager running away with their desire for independence. A relationship that’s headed for the point of no return. These troubles are all very real.

I’ve been battling worry a lot lately. With due respect to President Coolidge, I have one or two or twenty troubles right now that ignored the ditch and are parked in my driveway. They don’t look like they’re moving on anytime soon. I’d like to say I’ve handled my worries well. But it’s been paralyzing at times.

So what to do?

I’m learning. Slowly, painfully, tearfully, imperfectly. I’m learning what God is trying to teach me about worry.

And trust.

“Todd, here’s the deal…

I told you that I’ll never leave you or forsake you. Others may have promised that and bailed, but I’m not them. I’m Me. I’m God. And I am not a man that I should lie. Simply put, you’re never alone. Ever. You might feel like you are, but you’re not.

Next, you need to understand that I understand your worries and your fears. I know that life is hard. I’ve never sugar coated that. “Many are the afflictions of the righteous” is how I put it in Psalm 34. You’re living in a broken world. Being a Christian doesn’t make you immune from that. Your problems are real. That is not lost on Me.

You need to understand something else. And it may not make sense to you. But everything that happens in your life, good and bad, passes through My sovereign hand. If I allow it, I have a reason for it. That doesn’t mean I cause bad things. It means I work all things, even the bad things, for good in your life. There are no loose ends in your life not connected to my perfect purpose.

You’ve asked me a few times, “Why am I allowing this @#$% to happen?” It’s a fair question. If I love you, why don’t I spare you? You might not like this, either. But there’s more at stake here than your present circumstances. See, I care more about your character than your comfort. I need you to come to grips with your faults, the things you need to change for your good and My glory. I need you to learn to trust Me with the injustices in your life. I need you to go through this. Not around it. The hard stuff, the pain, it’s all part of the process of making you like Jesus. 

And you have no idea how committed I am to that process. Does the phrase, “never stop this side of heaven” ring a bell?

I know heaven seems far away right now. That’s why I need you to believe Me when I say take life one day at a timeDon’t worry about tomorrow. Each day has enough trouble of its own. The things you need, I’ll provide. I promise. It’s about depending on Me every day. That’s why Jesus called it “our daily bread”.  Just do the next thing in front of you and trust me. Don’t waste your time on the “what if’s” about tomorrow. I’m already there. And I’m working in ways you can’t see or understand.

So keep talking to Me. All the time. It’s the best thing you can do. Don’t polish it, don’t edit it. Don’t spiritualize it. Just bring it. The angst. The tears. The passion. The needs. Just bring it. Your worries plus you equals fear. Your worries plus Me equals peace. And my peace passes all understanding.

Whether your circumstances get better or worse…and yes, they could get worse, remember that nothing separates you from My love. Come hell or high water, I love you. I’m for you. Do I need to state the obvious?

If God is for you, who can be against you?

I’m for you.

So keep going.”

– God