I remember that day as if it were yesterday.
I had just returned from my morning shopping. As I unloaded the car, trip after trip, an unfamiliar crunching sound came from the woods behind our property. Engines moaned. I slowed my gait and peered into the trees beyond my back yard.
It didn’t take long to find the source of the ruckus. A large backhoe, or was it a bulldozer, gouged each tree at it’s base unearthing it from the ground and toppling it over. Then the machine grabbed each tree longways and discarded it into a ditch. I stood staring, mouth ajar. What were they doing?
My heart raced as I began to ponder the full affect of what was happening. How dare they ruin that beautiful forest? What were their plans? Immediately, I thought the worst; multiple worsts, matter of fact.
I quickly texted my husband to tell him of this atrocity. Without missing a beat, he reminded me that it wasn’t our property nor could we do anything about it. “They were dead trees anyhow,” he said. Oh, how I hate the voice of reason.
So…I chose not to listen to him.
Instead, I spent the rest of my day standing by the kitchen window, festering. I glared on as I watched that work crew destroy one tree after another. I tried to distract myself with my work, but I couldn’t. I wanted to know how and why this was happening. What was the plan for that space? How would these changes affect our property use and value? Worry, anger and bitterness took over as I let my mind wander.
Not once did I ponder that something lovely might be waiting on the other side of that forest.
Then things got worse. The next phase began; the crews began to burn the piles of rubbish that they’d created. For weeks on end, the bitter smell of smoke overtook our neighborhood and seeped into our homes. Ash blew about and settled onto our cars and outdoor furniture. And all the while, we could do nothing to stop it.
It took me several weeks to fully accept what I’ve known for years: No amount of worry would change my reality that day. I see now that I wasted precious energy every moment that I watched and considered this changing landscape. While those workers destroyed the trees and burned the remnants, I feared an outcome that never happened. I learned I can serve myself better (and those around me) by focusing on gratitude for the day at hand and the blessings within it.
At this stage in my life, I probably shouldn’t need a reminder to thank God every day and savor each moment, each breath, because for years I strayed far from Him into dangerous territories, yet His hand was upon me and He protected me. However, sometimes the messages all around us and/or our experiences tell us something different, tempting us to choose worry over worship.
I’m not sure about you, but I do not want to waste another today on worry. Change is bound to happen; it’s all around us. I need to look no further than out my kitchen window where I’m now able to see for miles and miles. The efforts of those workers that so disgusted me ended up exposing a beautiful view that I could not have imagined or hoped for. And there isn’t a day I look out over that landscape and remember how easily I fell prey and forgot what I knew in my heart to be true: “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:27 NIV) No! But it can waste many precious moments that you’ve been given today.
There is no doubt in my mind that you have changing landscapes in your life too. What is troubling you today? Perhaps it’s a new job or health care concerns. For some, it’s a troubling relationship or the outcome of our recent election. Regardless, I urge you to put your faith in the Lord. I can’t promise you everything will turn out the way you want or go perfectly, but I do know that despite how the evidence stacks up on earth or what your mind tries to tell you might be a result of the changes around you, God is still in control. He loves you and will care for you.
Confidential prayer requests may be sent to sharingalonglifesjourney[at]gmail[dot]com.