“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed. For His compassions never fails. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
Lamentation 3:22-23 (NIV)
Worry (or anxiety) is a common part of life. It’s an emotion, like hurt or anger, that is not sin in and of itself. From neuropsychological science, there’s an important area of our brains called the “limbic system”. The limbic system functions as an “alarm”. It alerts us when we face danger or uncertainties. This system is part of God’s masterpiece design that serves as an in-built survival and protective function. It’s amazingly complex and versatile. However, the system can also get overloaded. How? By two things: a) Stuck living in the past or b) Stuck living in the future.
Living in the past speaks about living weighed down by either guilt or embarrassment (shame). Feeling regret or wallowing in disappointment. “I wish I hadn't said this or that …” or “I wish I had done this or had not done that …”. We all have these thoughts from time to time. Guilt, embarrassment, and regret are not always negative. They can actually help us to be wiser and more discerning on how to live life today and for the future. Seen from a spiritual standpoint, if we never felt any guilt, we could never have true repentance. How could one develop spiritual maturity when he or she never recognizes the depth of his or her sin or iniquities? But, at the same time, we also don’t want to get stuck by past guilt, regret, or shame.
Living in the future speaks of fear or worry about the uncertainties of future outcomes. This is also not negative in and of itself. Fear and worry could actually make us think more carefully, plan more wisely, change our strategies, learn new skills, and discern how to improve our situations. We don’t simply say, “God is with me. I am not afraid or concerned about anything!”. This could be a sign of denial. Yes, God is with us. We hold on to His Word that says, “Fear not, I am with you!”. Yet at the same time, we also need to be 1) discerning and 2) responsible.
Neither getting stuck living in the past or the future is helpful.
The Bible says, “the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never comes to an end.” The word “love” (hesed) and “mercy” (raham) are two different words, but are very much identical in meaning. It speaks of deep love, kindness, compassion, and favor. It’s repeated over and over in the Bible. And when things are repeated in the Bible, it underscores its significance. The prophet Jeremiah, possibly as the author of the book of Lamentation, said in the v19, 20: “in my affliction, my wandering, the bitterness, … even when I am downcast.” I remember: “His deep kindness, compassion, favor … are new every morning!”
God’s provision of strength, wisdom, protection, kindness, forgiveness are new for all of us every day. If we are reminded of our past mistakes or regrets, or if we are worried about the uncertainties of tomorrow, we need to hold on to this truth, to live for today trusting that God in His divine way won’t abandon us. His ways may not always appear ideal from our standpoint, but the Bible says His provision never fails. It is fresh and new every day. We focus to live one day at a time, especially when we are going through difficult times. We say to God, “Today, I have my hope in YOU, GOD!”
If we turn to verse 25: “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him. To the one who seeks Him. It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord”. I pray that you would seek and wait quietly upon Him in whatever circumstances you are going through today! May God’s grace and peace be with you. AMEN.