Do you ever have those days when things just seem unbearable? I’ve been having those more and more these past few weeks as I have started this new phase in my life; doctoral studies. Not only am I starting that full-time, but I am also a husband and father working two part-time jobs trying to make ends meet for my family. I still remember the day sitting in Dr. Owen Dickens’ office (Professor of Old Testament at Asbury University) telling him that someday I want to be in his seat, doing what he is doing (though of course for New Testament), and him responding that a large obstacle for doctoral studies is the financial pressure that it puts on one’s family. Let me tell you, at the time I thought to myself, “How bad can it be?” but now, just three weeks in, I know exactly what he was talking about. Even though the Lord has been so generous in providing me with a full scholarship to Asbury, I nevertheless have found myself being worried and anxious about my family “making it” through this process just having our basic needs met. Is their food in the fridge? What about diapers and wipes this week? Didn’t I just put gas in the car? How much for food this week? Will I have enough for books this semester? And what about our trips home to Illinois to visit our families? Will we have enough? Are we going to make it?
These are just a few questions about money running through my mind as of late.
And then there is the whole issue of time, something that seems to elude me. I don’t have it, and I need lots of it – to spend with my wife and son, to read and read and then read some more, to write and write and get something published (holy macaroni!), to relax and have downtime, and to spend in the presence of God. The long story short: I am lacking in time and everything seems like a cram and rush.
But here is the point: this stress and anxiety is something that’s been caused by my fear of what could happen in the future – (1) running out of money and (2) not getting something done – but my God is not the author of fear or worry, especially over things such as money. So here is what Jesus says: its normal to feel stressed about these things, but you have to let go of the fear about tomorrow because each day has enough troubles. So I’m learning to take one day at a time, one moment at a time, and “find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of the life God gives us; for this is our lot.” (Ecclesiastes 5:18).
If you are experiencing the stress of life today or tomorrow, I encourage you to read Ecclesiastes 4:9-5:20 and Matthew 6:24-34. There is much wisdom to learn from the teaching of God.