There are times in our lives when we are pitted against a challenge so great, so insurmountable, that we stagger as we begin to deal with the reality of it. As someone who is used to challenges and pushing myself, I was never much bothered by stuff that I wouldn’t succeed at because I had learned (largely through military service) that I was capable of achieving success if I pushed myself. There were even goals that I achieved that were primarily mental, like graduating college in four years despite attending three different colleges. In many ways, I had come to the belief that with the right mindset, I could accomplish most physical and mental goals. I guess you could say that I wasn’t prepared for the news that I got recently diagnosing me with degenerative disc disease. The neurosurgeon had to tell me three times for me to understand that I shouldn’t ever run again. As he said the words, I was waiting for a surgical option to get mentioned or even how with time and physical therapy I might be able to enjoy activities like basketball, tennis, or running. That never happened. Instead, he recommended no impact activities, requested that I attend physical therapy, and I was led out to the waiting room.
It was surreal and I’m not going to lie—I spent the next moments feeling sorry for myself. I felt like someone who had been told they would never do something that they loved to do. And then this strange thing happened. I began to believe that I could be healed. It doesn’t make sense, I understand…but I began to suddenly feel like my challenge wasn’t insurmountable. But I realized something in that moment—you have to live one day at a time.
Matthew 6:34 (ESV)
Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Matthew 6:33 is about seeking the kingdom of God. Although there is a lot of depth to the phrase “seek the kingdom of God,” it basically indicates putting God first in all that we do. When we are putting God first in our lives, we no longer have to worry about what will happen tomorrow. Tomorrow will happen whether we worry or not. There is a popular saying that when you worry, if something bad does happen, then you’ve experienced it twice. What we do have control of is our attitude each day.
II Corinthians 10:5 (ESV)
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
In II Corinthians, we are instructed that we can take every thought captive. It is this standard of renewing our minds that enables the individual to not be overwhelmed by the magnitude or “reality” of their situation. It is because we keep our thoughts under control and tap into God’s spirit within us that we do not faint (II Corinthians 4:16). When I am tempted to feel down and out, I can change that. I realize that I don’t have to feel sorry for myself, though that can honestly be a temptation.
Psalms 103:3 (KJV)
Who [God] forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;
And while I have no doubt that the answer that I received about my condition was an accurate medical diagnosis, I also believe that God heals. According to medicine, I realize that I may never run again. And to be honest, I’m not sure what I will be able to do tomorrow or even a year from now—at least without compromising my health. However, I know that I believe that medicine goes only so far and that God is greater than any obstacle, medical or otherwise.
Psalms 147:5 (ESV)
Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.
Our God is great and powerful. Though I have no doubt that I will be healed in some way, either physically or mentally, I try not to be bogged down by the reality of my situation. Instead, I am remaining optimistic and grateful. By no means do I have my problem under control all the time. But when I am tempted to fear or worry, I remind myself that God heals and is more powerful than any situation. I remind myself that God wants me to prosper in every category. I remind myself that Jesus Christ came to give me a more than abundant life, including complete health. When I do these things, I am able to prosper one day at a time.