I’m sopping wet walking through a rain-forest in Ghana, legs shaking after an eight-hour hike through two rainstorms and one very cold dip in a huge waterfall. It’s always when I am surrounded by God’s beautiful creation that He shakes me awake, gives me a reality check. Yes I was soggy, cold, and had more bugs and mud on my body than I would desire, but at the same time overcome with an overflowing joy and peace. The kind that makes you feel like you may burst into tears. Joy and peace in the midst of uncertainty.
For the past few months I have been fighting against my fear of the future. The older I get, the more experiences I have, relationships I build, the closer I cling to Christ, the more my future plans begin to slip away. Not my dreams or passions in life, but that ten-year plan that they always ask you about in college or job interviews. I had never really been a ten year, five year, or even next week planner. However, I did have a general outline of how I thought my life would lay out, and while I thought it would become clearer after college, or after I found the career I was passionate about, it only becomes more blurry. I have wasted so much time worrying about my next step, my future, I have become blind to the work that God is doing around me, in the present. As I walked and climbed and slipped through the forest I was amazed by the intricate details of His creation and in that moment this verse rang in my ears.
“Look at the birds of the air; do they not sow or reap or store away in the barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable that they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?…
So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his Kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Matthew 6: 26-27, 31-34
He cares deeply for His creation. The detail He put into each centipede, ant, leaf, mountainside, tree root, each having its own purpose and each provided for. Did they do anything for it? No, yet God provides. How much more does he provide for us? He created us in HIS own image; He sacrificed His son for us in order to be in relationship with Him. How dare I worry about tomorrow? It should be a relief that my future is a mystery because I know that it is in the hands of The Creator. It should be easy, yet it is not.
I can’t just tell myself to stop worrying and wake up the next morning fearless and worry free. Because I am human, prone to sin, prone to worrying. BUT I am not just human, thanks to Christ’s grace, I am a child of God. I have the Holy Spirit dwelling within me and I am called to a higher purpose. The more I continue to trust in my own strength and abilities the more I will be crippled by the anxieties of this world, the fear of not being in control. But if I seek Him first, His Kingdom, He will lead me on a journey that is far more rewarding than my own plans.
What does it mean to seek first His Kingdom, His righteousness? Honestly, I am still learning. To seek Him first before all things, before all my plans, all my mundane tasks of the day. Practically, it’s spending time in with Him in His word or praying every time my mind begins to worry about the future. It’s about living in the NOW. Looking for Him in everything I do, and praising Him even if I can’t tell what He is doing. If I don’t know Him, spend time with Him, how can I trust Him with my tomorrow?
Trusting and seeking Him has not been easy. It has been scary, full of challenges, heartache, and uncertainty. However, if I would have stuck to my clear ten-year plan rather than seeking Him I would have never been on that eight-hour hike to a waterfall in a Ghanaian rain-forest, I wouldn’t have chosen to teach in Accra, wouldn’t have gained the relationships I have, heard the beautiful testimonies I have, and witnessed God move in countless hearts. I look back and thank God daily that my plans did not come to pass, because he has taken me on an adventure filled with far more joy than I could have ever imagined. Yes, I still worry about the uncertainty of tomorrow, but faith requires action. I have to choose to wake up daily and seek Him, because tomorrow will worry about itself.