Wars and earthquakes are, for the most part, beyond our scope. The trembling of the earth and the shaking of governments are things that most of us cannot control. The same is true of many events. None of us can exercise complete control over his or her own life. Some things come our way without asking our consent or waiting for our permission. And it’s silly for us to worry about that kind of thing. Why should we wring our hands and wrinkle our brow over things that we cannot help?
The Serenity Prayer makes a lot of sense at this point: “Lord, give me the courage to change the things I can, the serenity to accept the things I can’t, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Jesus often told His disciples that some of them would be brought to trial before kings and governors, and this is where He said, “Don’t worry about your defense beforehand, for I will give you words and wisdom.” In other words, we should handle today’s troubles today – tomorrow’s troubles tomorrow. Don’t try to handle them both the same day. That kind of double burden can break the strongest life.
I read somewhere a little parable about an old grandfather clock. One day the clock got to thinking how it has to tick two ticks every second. Then it figured out that means 120 ticks per minute; 7,200 ticks per hour; 172,800 ticks per day; 1,209,600 ticks per week; and 62,899,200 ticks per year. And right off, the clock had a nervous breakdown. Someone took it to a psychiatrist. After consultation, the doctor advised the clock to go home and try to tick just one tick at a time, then tick the next tick. The clock took the doctor’s advice and started ticking one tick at a time. That was twenty years ago, and the old clock is still ticking.
We would be wise to do the same thing! Not all the ticks, just one tick; not all the days, just one day. Not all the problems, just today’s problems. Nearly all of us can handle today. It’s when we pile all of our tomorrows on top of it that we get into trouble. We must learn to live our lives in the present and deal with our problems on day at a time.