Thursday, November 22, 2007
Each winter, certain parts of America get hammered with monster snowstorms. And when it's our turn, we all have stories about how we survived the winter of whatever year it is. Well, no one's got a story like a Norwegian explorer named Boerge Ousland. For 64 days, he saw little more than white. He recently became the first person to ever cross the continent of Antarctica alone and unaided. It took him 64 days to cover those frozen 1,675 miles. He harnessed Antarctica's fierce winds by strapping himself to this parachute-like sail. With the winds in his favor, he could ski as much as 140 miles a day. All the while, he's towing a sled carrying about 400 pounds of supplies, enduring monotony and even temperatures that dipped to 40 degrees below zero. After his incredible journey, Ousland talked about the huge mental challenge of facing seemingly endless fields of snow. But here's how he did it, in his own words, "It's so big and so far - you have to keep concentrating on the near future and make every day a victory." Wow!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "So Big, So Far, So Doable."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Matthew 6:25 and following, "Do not worry about your life ... look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' Your Heavenly Father knows you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
Jesus' orders here are real clear - repeated three times, "Do not worry." What makes us worry? Things that are, in the words of that Antarctic explorer, "so big and so far." In fact, right now you may be facing a situation like that - maybe several of them. They look as huge as the vast expanse of Antarctica must have looked to that explorer. You're looking at or maybe you're worrying about an overwhelming challenge in your finances, or your family, maybe your health, your responsibilities, or a relationship. But your anxiety is contributing absolutely nothing to managing this situation. If anything, worry is actually paralyzing you, or distorting your judgment, or robbing you of the energy you need for this challenge.
Listen to the teaching of your Master - don't keep dragging your tomorrows into your today. Worry is trying to live your tomorrow before you get there; before you have the grace for that day that God only issues in 24-hour increments. Jesus is saying, "Just do today!" That's how one man handled the seemingly endless winter of his Antarctic journey. He said, "You have to keep concentrating on the near future." Yes, like today!
He said, "Make every day a victory." That's how you deal with a child who's taking everything you've got as a parent. It's how you beat a sin that's conquered you for so long. It's how you dig your way out of a mountain of debt. It's how you manage the unmanageable. "Make every day a victory." And on those days that don't exactly turn out to be victorious, put that day behind you and start fresh on that next new day. Remember, the Bible says, "His mercies are new every morning."
When you stop worrying about tomorrow and you focus on today - and on your Heavenly Father who knows what you need - what seems so big and so far becomes so doable.