My hands hover over the keyboard. I don’t want to write this post.
I don’t really want to write any post at all, actually, even though my mind is constantly writing sentences and storylines throughout the day.
Part of me wants to blame it on the pandemic, and while it’s true that I have much less creative energy now than I did back in “precedented times,” I hesitate to put words down today because I know you won’t see them for another few weeks . . . and I don’t know what the world will look like then.
What will fill our newsfeeds? Will we be closer to a vaccine? What worries will weigh on our shoulders? What words of truth will we need to hear?
I don’t know.
I’m pulled back to the present moment as a splash in the background interrupts my thoughts. The sound of children screaming with delight and adults laughing at their joy echos off the buildings surrounding the pool.
Twenty-five summers ago, I wore floaties in that very pool.
Fifteen summers ago, I played games with my cousins, diving to the bottom to retrieve toys and seeing who could hold their breath the longest underwater.
Ten summers ago, I stood on the deck by the pool, took a picture with my family, gave hugs and said goodbyes, and then drove home to pack a hospital bag for brain surgery the next morning.
We come back every year and I say the same words all over again. “Will you take my picture on the deck?” Sometimes I squint from the sun or stand there soaked from a summer storm, but there’s a time lapse of sorts on my camera roll, each photo telling a story summed up in just a few words:
And so I add another picture, pause to remember, and give thanks.
Ten years later, with criss-crossed legs beneath me and hands slowly writing out these words to the soundtrack of squeals and splashes, it’s remembering that slows my heartbeat. My fingers still with gratitude instead of uncertainty.
Not knowing the future isn’t anything new. I’ve never known exactly what the next day would bring. Control has never been mine to have or to hold.
20/20 vision, it turns out, brings into focus the truth that I don’t know . . . and maybe that’s a gift.
Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. – Matthew 6:34 (MSG)
The little girl in the floaties had no idea what was coming fifteen years later, let alone the next day. And if you told the girl holding her breath that five years later she’d have to remember to breathe during her first MRI scan, she wouldn’t fully understand.
The seventeen-year-old standing on the deck didn’t need to know in that moment that over the next decade, mixed in with so many wonderful things, she would have three more surgeries, grieve friendships falling apart, experience spiritual warfare, watch multiple dreams die, and eventually find herself writing these words in the middle of something called a “global pandemic.”
Not knowing the future was a kindness, a gift from the One who knows it all and knew it would be too much.
That day’s trouble was enough. But the most beautiful of truths is this: so was God.
Remembering God’s past faithfulness helps us hold tightly to joy in the present and hope for the future.
That doesn’t eliminate our questions, but it guides us to the true Answer.
In Even If Not, I wrote,
God is not staring down at us from heaven and tapping His foot, checking His watch to see just how long it’ll take us to figure this whole ‘life’ thing out. Instead, He is patiently waiting and quietly longing to be the safe place we run to in the dark, the quiet we enter into when the noise of the world is blaring in our ears, the balm to our scars and the healing for our hurts. He never promised to answer all our questions, but He promised to be the Answer to every question we’ll ever face.
Sometimes we get so caught up in figuring out the future that we can’t focus in the present. There’s a time and a place for planning, but if we miss today then what’s the point in worrying about tomorrow? Time spent worrying today is time taken away from praying for the very things that cause us to worry.
God was there at the beginning, is with us in the in between, and will be with us in our tomorrows too. We’re invited to be “careless in the care of God” (Matthew 6), trusting that the One who knows and holds the future also knows and holds us.
I don’t have the answers, and I imagine I’ll still be saying “I don’t know” next time I watch the cursor blink against a blank page.
But I won’t end the sentence there.
I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but He does.
I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but He’ll be there.
I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but He is enough.
And that’s enough.
If you’ve purchased a copy of Even If Not, send me a message . . . I’d love to connect and, if you’d like, mail a print or two your way.
(Every chapter begins with an art print, and while they’re all available as free downloads — click on the image below — if you’re anything like me, it sure does help to see Truth framed on a desk or taped to the bathroom mirror.)
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