Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
Anybody familiar with the REAL Scripture (Matthew 6:34, KJV) I used for the title, knows I worded it wrong! The real version reads,
“Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” (emphasis added)
The rest of the text is Jesus’ saying, if it were in the modern vernacular, “Chill; I got you covered.”
But if you think about it, in certain contexts, sometimes the challenge of the day is not the “evil” of it (which is a given), but the challenge of the day is the “good” of it.
What I mean is, think about how hard it is to
a) actually follow-up on a New Year’s resolution (which is what a lot of us are thinking about this very day, 1/1/20),
b) get up off the comfy–and comforting–couch of some recent illness or problem and walk again in the “world of the well” (there might be some muscle, mental, or emotional atrophy that has occurred, not to mention the power of inertia to hold us back), or, after having recovered in the spiritual sense,
c) keep moving forward, i.e., “do the next right thing” which could range anywhere from moving on in mind, heart, and spirit to (warning: discernment required) moving back into a relationship.
(By including a warning, I mean in the context of taking the steps after forgiveness and healing to engage in reconciliation, if the harm came via another person or persons, because reconciliation, though ideal, may be neither biblically appropriate–nor possible–in some cases. For a good, biblically-sourced explanation, I encourage the interested to read and listen here.)
CAVEAT: However, one must also recognize that there are some healings that take time–days, weeks, months, years–because not all recovery is miraculous. And some situations might require the aid, comfort, and wisdom of many counselors”.
And yet still other healings may take place only when those who are spiritually “halt and lame” by reasons both of, and outside of, their choice, nevertheless make it to the entrance of heaven’s gate. A good example of this is the case of the so-called “good thief” near Christ on the cross.
About That “Crouching Sin” Thing
For another way to look at the altered verse, “sufficient unto the day is the good of it,” consider the challenge always present when God has been working some minor or major blessing in our life and how evil, like sin, crouches as close to anything good God is doing as it can possibly get–with our permission, of course, as the linked verse explains.
So even with God’s goodness permeating all of creation, evil is never very far away, ginning up some kind of trouble.
Such evil might be by means of some shimmering snake who slithers down a tree in the “paradise” of our own place of calm, peace, contentment, or what have you, speaking our lingo, and suggesting God lied to us, as in the case of Eve, and, later, tempting Adam in ways it knew he would succumb.
Or the evil might be a grudge embedded somewhere, like a thorn in one’s side, painful but hard to dislodge.
It might be the other more obvious temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil (and all of his bright, shiny, powerful, and/or fearful minions of mind and of matter).
Or it could be some cocoon of erstwhile necessity but that has outlived its usefulness.
And the trouble is, when it comes to cocoons of, in this case, recovery, we don’t know what may emerge, or not, nor exactly what will happen when we try out the new life, whatever it might be.
Would there be another failure? A more painful wound? An even worse challenge?
Or, conversely, will what emerges in due time turn out to be something completely unimaginable?
For in every seed is the potential fruit toward which, by design, the seed matures.
In other words, the strength we have “consumed” in and of the cocoon (like the caterpiller who has eaten its cocoon for life and growth), will at the transition, show its new life transformed–and sufficient.
If we let it, that is, and don’t let free will impede growth.
Because when it comes to the metaphor of recovery and reconciliation, the promise of the seed is not always realized. Sometimes, free will gets in the way.
The Will in the Way
The best outcome of moth and of man is the design revealed from the paradise of creation where all things were new and yet untarnished by God’s greatest gift to mankind: free will* and from which His best gift, His own Son, Jesus, redeemed us back to the Father when we mismanged the greatest. Which seems to happen a lot.
As believers, however, born-again of a new Spirit, there is one more gift available–and embedded.
In other words, there is one more source of life–and transformation–the Bread of Life, if you will, even Jesus Who will abide within us at our request as we “consume” His life through getting to know His word and ways, a transformation designed to manifest, at length, in all aspects of our lives.
For by absorbing, if you will, this new spiritual life we can experience the fruit of our redemption (that is not only reserved for heaven) because (and this is big):
“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26, NIV)
And to help us “chill” when transitioning forward into what is often confusing, unknown, and worrisome, here’s some encouragement:
Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. (Psalm 34:8)
Here’s to a blessed and fruitful new year stepping forward.