I Don’t Want to Take One Day at a Time


There are certain “encouraging” phrases spoken to people going through difficulties which drive me nuts.

“It’s all gonna work out.” (So you have a crystal ball and can see my future?)

“I’m sure everything’s going to be fine.” (Because nothing bad ever happens to nice people?!)

“Just take it one day at a time.” (Thanks, I’d rather skip this whole month!)

I imagine the person uttering these kinds of phrases feels better after saying them, but weary listeners–myself included–aren’t necessarily cheered.

But despite my aversion to these cliches, I must admit that each does have an element of truth. Whatever trouble is happening will be worked out…eventually. I’m just not positive that each of us will see how it gets worked out in our lifetime. And everything will be fine in the sense that the things which really matter most–those of eternal value–can never be lost.

And as much as much as I don’t want anyone saying it to me right now as my husband and I walk through his health crisis, I have been admonishing myself: Just take it one day at a time.

Our grandchildren Ben and Abby have helped me keep that singular focus by making my husband a calendar to countdown the days remaining in his six weeks regimen of daily I.V. antibiotics. Ben, almost a kindergartener, drew the numbers (frontwards twos are overrated!) and Abby, almost a preschooler, helped decorate the background. (I guess 22-month-old Jack’s contribution was not ripping it up!)

Every day my husband and I smile as we rip off a calendar sheet and continue the countdown (Well, except for today as I write this. His PICC line won’t flush so I’m waiting for a nurse to come out and troubleshoot and hoping we are not headed to the hospital!)

It’s so hard to concentrate only on today. My rational mind wants to focus on the fact our entire summer is basically shot because my husband can’t walk. My brain keeps zeroing in on the fact the fall season is not going to be much better as he faces months of rehab. And it’s difficult not to dwell on the reality we’re facing many more months of sleep-interrupted nights, of too-tiring days and of what-if tomorrows.

But the truth is, it’s biblical to just take life one day at a time.

Remember in the desert when the Israelites complained God had forgotten them and they didn’t have anything good to eat? God responded by sending a delicious “flaky substance as fine as frost” which became known as “manna,” meaning “what is it?” And the instructions for gathering this daily sustenance were very specific.

Exodus 16:4: Then the Lord said to Moses, “Look I’m going to rain down food from heaven for you. Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day. I will test them in this to see whether or not they will follow my instructions.”

Here’s what happened next: “So the people of Israel did as they were told. Some gathered a lot, some only a little. But when they measured it out, everyone had just enough, Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had enough. Each family had just what it needed.” (Exodus 16:17-18)

The people were further instructed not to try and save any manna overnight, but some didn’t listen. The next morning, the Bible says, their hoarded manna was full of maggots and smelled terrible.

Personally, I would love to stockpile a supply of manna for a whole month, or at least a week. I’d like some in my back pocket so I knew that what I needed to get through tomorrow and the next day was right there.

But it doesn’t work that way.

What the Israelites needed to get  them through the day had to be provided fresh by God each morning. And what you and I need for our journey in the desert needs to come daily from God’s hand by the power of His Spirit in us.

We are instructed to go to the Lord each morning and gather our daily sustenance–our manna–from Him. As we pray and move into His presence, we find His faithfulness, His love, His mercies, His faithfulness…our hope.

The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.  I say to myself, “The LORD is my inheritance; therefore I will hope in him!” Lamentations 3:22-23

O LORD, hear me as I pray; pay attention to my groaning. Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for I pray to no one but you. Listen to my voice in the morning, LORD. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly. Psalm 5:1-3

So please don’t tell me I need to just take one day at a time–I’m pretty busy telling myself.

P.S. The nurse was able to troubleshoot the PICC line and get it working again. Hurray!

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