Friday, February 6, 2015

Think Small

Look at the birds of the air . . . . (Matthew 6:26 ESV)

A few weeks ago, Kim asked you to tell us what you thought were the most pressing issues facing older women—and you did. A list of issues made from the post and comments would be long: health trouble, family problems, loved ones lost, and more. This confirms something I've observed: While every age has it's difficulties, as we we age, our troubles often multiply.

I can't address most of the difficulties listed from the perspective of someone who has gone through them, but I've experienced a few hard providences. Here are two strategies—bibilical ones, I think—that helped me keep on believing and keep on going during difficult times.

Focus on the present.

Why borrow tomorrow's (or next year's) potential troubles and pile them up with the difficulties we face for certain right now? Jesus instructed his disciple to "not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble" (Matthew 6: 34). He didn't say his disciples would have no future hardship, just that each day has enough trouble all by itself, so it's foolish to add from what's yet to come. Face today, Jesus says, and don't think about what might happen eventually, knowing that our heavenly Father will take care of your future in the same way he's providing, right now, for today. 

What do you need today, or if you can't think even that far ahead, what do you need in the next minutes or hours? Ask your heavenly Father for it, since he's promised to provide everything you need (Matthew 6:25-34). What do you need to do right now? Ask for strength to do it. Trust God to give you all you really need, including strength to do what you need to do, minute by minute, hour by hour, for all of today. Trust him to carry you through whatever trial he brings into your life. And if you can't trust God (I've been there; it happens.), ask him to give you faith to rely on him to keep his promises.

Look for small mercies. 

By small mercies I mean little gifts from God, gifts so commonplace they may be overlooked. When our circumstances are dark, when God isn't answering our big requests with a "yes," we may feel abandoned by him. Noticing his care in the everyday things—the tasty meal, the car that runs, the friends who love us—reminds us that he is still there holding our little world together "by the word of his power," just as he holds the big world together "by the word of his power" (Hebrews 1:3). The ordinary gifts come from the same One and by the same means as the big answers to our big requests do—or would, if he were to grant them.

Acknowledging the small mercies reminds us that God is with us in darkness as well as light. What's more, it's one way to "give thanks in all circumstances" (1 Thessalonians 5:18), especially when we can't bring ourselves to be thankful for our circumstances. 

Small things are a big deal for remaining faithful when life is hard.


  1. Diane, I am in complete agreement. This is my first time at your sit and I can't wait to read more. I love the reminder to come to Christ for All things big or small. I am looking forward to the next blog.