Fight for Today
The sun’s methodical odyssey across the broad sky has long passed its crest. The fiery disk has entered into a quick descent — soon to drop off the edge of the earth. The day has been long; the fight has been exhausting. Most soldiers about this time have already noticed the day’s responsibilities are quickly coming to an end — tomorrow they will pick up where they left off. After all, tomorrow always seems to be a day of deferred hope and fresh promise. Tomorrow is certainly where the grass grows greener and tasks more manageable. Tomorrow is a land of beauty because tomorrow is a figment of possibility, living outside the realm of reality —tomorrow is always tomorrow. However, on this inglorious day of horrific hand-to-hand combat, one man managed to escape the tantalizing seduction of tomorrow’s charm. These warring men were tired; their energy spent fighting against the enemy — God’s enemy. Yet, Joshua peered up at a sinking inferno and prayed that it would stand still. “And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed” (Joshua 10:13, King James Version).
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The story is captivating on so many levels that I really don’t have time to go into all that I would love to discuss (For example, two verses before this account God kills an entire army with hailstones! What!?). Also, let me clear the air with the scientific critics out there — Yes, Joshua’s prayer was ignorant scientifically. Joshua prays for the sun to stand still, and it does… Duh! It already was standing still! He never met Copernicus, so let’s just give him a break. However, I believe the reality of the prayer, and subsequently, the answer proves that God does not hold us to our validity but the purity of our request. Joshua prayed from his flawed perspective — welcome to Humanity 101. To Joshua the sun looked to be moving, so he prayed for it to stop. To you, it looks like your world is falling apart… you get the point.
Have you ever looked at the back of a rug? My father has a number of Persian rugs that he has acquired during his trips to Pakistan. The rugs are of the highest quality in the world, partially due to the fact that they are weaved with silk, but more importantly because of the high knot count per square inch. Rug appraisers will examine the back of the rug with a magnifying glass, counting every knot — the higher the count, the higher the value. These rugs are beautiful, and due to the intricacy of the weaving, they are incredibly detailed. However, if you turn one of these rugs over, even of their high value and quality, they are muted, and the exposed weaving makes the pattern unappealing. The analogy is so appropriate to our own lives. Ravi Zacharias in one of his books calls God the Grand Weaver for this very reason. God weaves our lives with beauty and intricacy, but so often we are frustrated and annoyed by the process because we only ever see the back of the rug. We view our lives through the dull lens of monotonous weaving.
Back to the point of tomorrow. Dreams are stressful. Dreams are burdensome. The last month or so I have been contemplating graduate school, and it has felt like I’ve been walking around with an answerless weight on my back. Acceptance rates. Research opportunities. Tuition rates. School location. Program type. Program length. GPA. GRE. Letters of recommendation. Christian universities. Secular universities. Clinical Psychology. Counseling Psychology. Clinical Mental Health. Marriage and Family Therapy. Licensure. Ph.D’s. Psy.D’s. M.A.’s. … My head has been in a fog the last month has I have succumbed to the burden of my dreams. I have been stressed trying to figure out a way to get into a school when acceptance rates hover at <3% into Ph.D programs. I’ve faced the reality that my dreams hang in the balance of an acceptance letter. The last month I have been stressed out over a moment that will take place 338 days from now. I’ve allowed tomorrow to effect today.
“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matthew 6:34, KJV).
This verse humbled me a few hours ago. I realized that for the last month I’ve been living for a day that will happen next year instead of embracing the beauty of God today. God is a God of today. Throughout the Bible, we find God to be a God of presence — a God in the moment. This is truly why I believe the story of Joshua that I noted at the beginning of this so powerful. It would have been easy for Joshua to succumb to the temptation of tomorrow — he and his men had fought a hard fight, they had secured a solid victory. Joshua could have peered up at the sun, swung his sword a few times, and walked to his tent with his head held high. He could have slept well that night because God had already promised Joshua victory (Joshua 10:8). But Joshua was a human being, and human beings have this way of allowing tomorrow to influence today.
While walking back to his tent, tomorrow could have whispered in Joshua’s ear that he had already secured all that God was going to give him. Tomorrow could have kept him up all night, worrying about the battle — worrying about the enemy. Standing on the battlefield, with the sun quickly setting, tomorrow was Joshua’s greatest enemy.
Joshua conquered tomorrow, though. How? By fighting for today. We go through life constantly shadow boxing with tomorrow — always frustrated because we never seem to be hitting anything. We fight tomorrow; we fight next month; we fight next year. All the while today’s problems stand right in front of our faces. Joshua later exposed his secret to beating tomorrow, “choose you this day whom ye will serve… as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:14, KJV). You beat tomorrow by fighting today.
Let’s be honest, it’s easy to fight tomorrow, because when we fight tomorrow we never run the risk of losing (it’s hard to lose a fight when you’re the only one fighting). Today’s battles on the other hand are tough because they are tangible, they are real. Tomorrow has all the flash and pizazz. Tomorrow is the pretty side of the rug. Today is dull, methodical and tangible — the backside of the rug. I write this paper worrying about grad school when all the while I’ve had 6 tests this week and a paper. Why on earth am I worrying about tomorrow?
Life is stressful and we have real concerns and situations down the road that we have to think about. I’m not saying throw caution to the wind and just do whatever you want today. I’m not saying don’t make plans for the future (I’m still planning on going to grad school and hopefully getting my Ph.D). The point I want to get across is don’t let tomorrow rob you of today. Hebrews 13:8 tells us, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (KJV). God is constant and He’s not going anywhere. Rest assured that he has your tomorrows under control — fight for today.
"This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it" – Psalm 118:24, KJV