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Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Just for Today

A Prayer in Spring

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfill.

-Robert Frost (1874-1963)
American poet and playwright

“Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday, and all is well,” my grandfather used to say. In his long lifetime, he’d learned that most of what we fret about never comes to pass. We waste so much time and wear ourselves out fearing the worst, instead of enjoying the present moment and trusting in God for the future. It behooves us all to keep in mind that we’re not in control; our loving Heavenly Father is. And to remember that, in any trouble we encounter, He is with us, ready and willing to lead us through. The trick is learning to let go and allow Him to do so.

The Reverend Robert H. Schuller, famous televangelist and pastor, once spoke of an experience he had that clearly illustrated the reward to be gained in letting go of worries. As I recall his story, one day while traveling, he found himself lugging two heavy suitcases through a huge airport, as he rushed to his departure gate. The distance to the gate was very long, and the time allowed for traversing it very short. On finally reaching the far-off gate and putting down the suitcases, he exclaimed to the agent, “Wow! What a relief! I didn’t realize how heavy my burden was until I set it down.” When we can set down our burdens, confidently leaving them in God’s hands, we, too, are rewarded with the welcome feeling of a huge weight lifted from our shoulders, a sweet release from our heavy load.

I’m a master worrier. I admit it, and I venture to say many of you, my dear Readers, worry, too. I stew about my problems and I pray about my problems, offering them up to God. But after completing my prayers, it seems, I often take back my concerns and worry some more. Sound familiar? The other day I was speaking with a friend about this ongoing challenge of mine. She offered this suggestion: “Mary, instead of you being a master of your worries, why not give your worries to the Master?”

Sound advice, with which the American poet Robert Frost would have undoubtedly agreed. In his A Prayer in Spring, printed above, Mr. Frost encouraged us not to project ourselves into that “uncertain harvest” of the future but instead to focus fully on today with all of its many pleasures, assured in the knowledge that God has every one of our tomorrows safely in His hands.

“This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it,” wrote the Psalmist. And what a glorious April day in which to be joyful and glad! The sources of happiness are all around us. Feel the warmth of the sunshine on your upturned face. Can you spy the emerging, tiny buds on the limbs of the trees? See the gently-opening petals of the beautiful flowers that have surfaced once again. Take a look at the grass underfoot. Overnight, as if by magic, it has suddenly turned to a lush, verdant green. Hush! Listen to the cheerful singing of the happy birds.

Today is the tomorrow we worried about yesterday, and all is well, for all is in God’s hands. Let us rejoice today and trust in Him for tomorrow!

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