The adage, “One day at a time” always sounded so trite to me. Until God said it to me recently.
I generally come at life from a big-picture, future-oriented perspective. Often that is useful. Sometimes, however—like when I think about getting older—it’s decidedly unhelpful. Whenever I start thinking about possible future scenarios, I fling open the door to a flood of doubts and fears. Maybe it’s because I already lived up close and personal to long-term sickness, disability, hospice, and death in my 40s when my husband died. I don’t know. But rarely do I picture a Golden Years scenario that looks very hopeful. And such unproductive imaginings leave me with a feeling of dread.
On the anniversary of my husband’s death a couple of weeks ago, I unwittingly opened that door. And then, for days, I dealt with a mostly subconscious current of unpleasant thoughts. Eventually they came to the surface enough that I knew I needed to take them to God.
When I did, He asked me a great question: Haven’t I been faithful to you up to this point?
“Yes, Abba. You have. I am amazed at Your faithfulness to me.”
Then why do you think I would I ever stop being faithful to you?
Indeed. Great question. I couldn’t think of single reason why He would. As I acknowledged that to Him, the Holy Spirit brought to my mind and heart a stream of scriptures. I wrote them down as they came, and with His help, fashioned them into a prayer. Here is what I wrote:
God, You have been my shepherd all my life to this day. Your love never fails. Your goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of my life so far, and they are not going to stop now, not ever.
Even to your old age and gray hairs, I am He. I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and will carry you. I will sustain you and rescue you.
I trust in You, Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in Your hands. The Lord is my inheritance and my cup. You are the one who determines my destiny. Your boundary lines mark out pleasant places for me. Indeed, my inheritance is something beautiful. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Genesis 48:15, Psalm 136:1, Psalm 23:6, Isaiah 46:4, Psalm 31:14-15; Psalm 16:5-6, 11)
When I’d finished, I prayed the prayer back to God. And sat quietly under His wings for a while. Eventually He broke the silence.
If you live one day at a time with Me, you will see day after day after day My never-failing love and faithfulness to you. At the end of each day you can pray that prayer back to Me. After praying it hundreds, maybe thousands of evenings—years from now when you are in fact be old and gray—your life will be a testimony to the truth of My Word to you.
Deep in my heart I knew He was right. I can look back on my life so far—even on the hard times—and see an abundance of grace, redemption, kindness, and mercy. Truly, God has been my Shepherd all my life until this day. So, if can discipline myself to live only one day at a time—and to thank Him for each one of those God-blessed days, then the future holds no fears for me. I’ll need His help to do that, that is for certain, but I’m completely convinced He wants to help me with this.
So, at the close of this day, I thank You God for Your goodness and mercy to me this day. My times are in Your hands. So help me, please, to live one day at a time, fully and confidently in Your presence.