We’d planned to spend the entire day at the lake as a family. With three teenagers still living at home, each with a different job and work schedule, finding a single day when all of us were available to go to the lake together wasn’t easy. It took planning and determination.
But, by some minor miracle, the stars — and our calendars — aligned. We found a day that worked for all of us. And so we scheduled it, promising that nothing short of Jesus’ return would come between us and the lake.
Finally, the day arrived. We jumped out of bed like kids on Christmas, teenagers and adults alike. With a glance out the window, I noticed the early morning sky boasted the most brilliant blue, not a cloud in sight. Even so, to be certain, I pulled out my phone and double-checked the day’s forecast:
Sunshine until noon. Then severe thunderstorms starting at 1:00 pm, lasting throughout the remainder of the day. That meant by the time we packed coolers and beach bags, and then drove to the lake, we’d have only an hour or two to enjoy the sunshine and each other before we’d need to call it a day. Maybe less.
My heart sank with disappointment. Was it worth so much effort if our lake day ended up shortened by storms? Should we wait and see, maybe try for a different day? But I knew that was nearly impossible. And summer was quickly coming to an end.
This left us with a dilemma. Risk it and hope for the best? Or throw in the towel and stay home out of fear of the worst?
After a quick family huddle, we decided to give it a go. Sure, storms would likely blow in, and we might only have an hour or two. But we decided we’d rather enjoy the morning together than miss out on it altogether.
So that’s what we did. We packed up, drove to the lake, and spent an amazing morning tubing and waterskiing and enjoying all kinds of shenanigans on the lake. We saw the clouds begin to roll in late morning, but we didn’t slow our frolicking a bit. We just kept enjoying the time we had, relishing every moment, knowing we had no control over whether or not the rain would come.
Guess what happened?
Nothing. That’s right, nothing. No thunderstorms, no rain. Although we had an hour of overcast skies, the entire storm system moved to the south at the last minute. And the sun came out shining bright on the other side. An ominous forecast turned into a full day of family fun on the lake. And we all looked at each other with faces filled with grins: I’m so glad we didn’t stay home! Today was perfect!
I’ve thought about this a lot since that day. How sometimes you and I allow the forecast of a possible future disappointment to rob us of the goodness of today. Yes, of course, it’s important to use wisdom and discernment when making decisions. And sometimes it’s a far better decision to play it safe and wait for another day, another season, another opportunity.
But far too often we get a glimpse of a potential catastrophe and, as a result, we hole up inside, eyes on the sky, heart tied up in knots, fearful of a future that may or may not happen. A failed relationship, an unexpected diagnosis, a potential rejection, or a professional failure. Desperate to avoid future pain, we also miss out on today’s pleasure — God’s present goodness to us right here, right now, exactly where we are.
I think this is what Jesus meant when He urged us to take our lives one day at a time:
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Ours is a Father whose posture toward us is love. He is for us, not against us. He is with us, not indifferent towards us. The same God who keeps His eye on the sparrow and the sun, the sea and the squirrel, knows you by name, dear daughter. He sees you, exactly where you are. And although storms will come from time to time, He wants you to trust Him enough for the future to live fully open to His goodness today.
Yes, wisdom may require you to reschedule your day at the lake. But never forget: Put your faith in the Father, not a forecast. And let the unexpected warmth of His countenance shine bright on you today, regardless of what may or may not come tomorrow.