I don’t like to fly.
When I do, I almost always wind up thinking of worst-case scenarios. What if I’m in the bathroom and the tail section breaks off? What would it feel like to be launched into the atmosphere? Once a pilot sat across the aisle from me. He was in uniform and riding to his home base or wherever his next flight was. I asked him what would happen if say, a wing broke off, and I was ejected into the atmosphere at 30,000 feet. Would I pass out from the lack of oxygen? Would I suddenly wake up 30 feet above the ground and for the last 2 seconds of my life experience intense terror before the incredible pain of impact? Imagination is a gift from God, but on planes my imagination tends to go into overdrive.
We can fear all kinds of things if we let ourselves. What if I never get married? What if I can’t find a job? What if my child gets a serious disease? What if my teenager continues to rebel? How will I make it when I retire?
After the Exodus, God provided manna for his people. He told them to gather each day’s amount and not store up any extra. They weren’t to worry about tomorrow’s manna, or next week’s manna, only that day’s.
In his book Running Scared, Ed Welch points out that for Christians, manna is a picture of grace. Like manna, God provides grace for each day. We don’t know what challenges we’ll face in 2 weeks or 2 years, but we know that whatever we encounter, there will be grace. We can’t get tomorrow’s grace ahead of time, but when we need it, God will provide.
Corrie Ten Boom used to say that when she was a child, her father would take her on train trips. While waiting, she’d ask her father for her ticket, but he’d say, “I’ll give you your ticket just before we get on.” And each time, when the train would arrive, he’d hand her her ticket just before boarding. Corrie’s point was that God gives us grace just when we need it. He gives us each day’s manna.
In Matthew 6, Jesus tells us:
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (MT 6.25-34)
As Ed Welch says, “There will be grace.” If God provided manna each day for Israel, he will provide grace each day for us. If God provides for the birds of the air, he will provide for us. Don’t be anxious about tomorrow. Remember these 4 words: “There will be grace.”