Chapter 6 of Soul-Help Papers
“…as thy day, so shall thy strength be.”
— Deuteronomy 33:25 —
from anxious fretting, forethought and worry!
Just one day at a time.”2
“As thy day, so shall thy strength be.” Not as my day or the day of someone else. Not as yesterday. Not as tomorrow. Each day for itself. Each individual for himself. Life is not a repetition, nor a return to its past self. Life is a continuity, and yet ever new—coming out of the past, and yet always going on into a future unlike that which has been. Life’s “now-ness” is a perpetual characteristic which forever keeps it from being tired of itself.
We get tired of people who lack freshness and constantly repeat what they have told us before, and have no new line of conversation or idea. While there is a great comfort in being able to hold the past in mind, it would soon grow weary on our hands had the present no new thought in it. While we want Jesus always to be the same in His great official relations, and be the same true Friend, at the same time we expect Him to be ever fresh and new, continually opening and leading us into fresh pastures and beside quiet waters.
You have noticed that the Bible never grows old. Even the passages addressed to youth are somehow endowed with a hidden meaning which is held in reserve for old age. Its passages never wear out. They brighten and shine with new resplendence from continuous reading. The hungry heart finds fresh pasture in the most commonplace chapter. The good places, so to speak, gleam with new light as they are approached from the new angle of each day.
Then there is something comforting in the thought that my journey each day is over an untraveled road, and each day the Guide says to me, “You have not gone this way before.”3 This is not yesterday, not last week, nor last year, much less forty years ago. There are mountains to see today, never before within the range of vision. There are fair landscapes drawn by the Artist of the universe for your eyes to see. There are songs which will ring from the very music of the spheres, which are only for your ears. The blue of the sky, the song of the birds, the penciling of the fair flowers along your path are for this day only. Along with all these will come trains of new thoughts. Orisons4 of praise will arise for that which has never been yours before. All this, and yet the beginning is only begun to be told. Then why should this be a sad, weary, gloomy day? How full of comfort Jesus has crowded each day, if we will only look at it! How He would make every day our best if we only knew how to take it!
But more. There is a great relief in the thought that I only have to live one day at a time. No yesterdays to go back into. No bridges of tomorrow’s crossing to come into today’s journey. I just have to live one day at a time. That is all. Whether or not I need something tomorrow should not trouble me. Whether I shall hold out tomorrow is not the perplexity, but rather whether I am holding out today. What Christ shall be or do tomorrow need not perplex me, but rather what He is and is doing today. Why should I trouble as to what the coming years shall find Him doing, since He is just now what He always will be, and is now doing just what He always will do, so far as His relations to all who are His. Today He wants me to regard Him as “all and in all.”5 A thousand millenniums hence there will be no change in this respect. Having Christ today, and living with and for Him today, is enough. What need I more? Why have anxious forethoughts as to what He will want of me tomorrow? All He wants of me is to live for Him today. It is only one day at a time. Heaven is on earth when Christ is enthroned within. In heaven, in eternity, He is yesterday and forever the same.6
What pains He has taken to secure us from anxious fretting, forethought and worry! Just one day at a time. Reduced to a finer division, we live moment by moment. Tomorrow cares for itself. We seize the comfort of the day. We take its sunshine to enjoy what the sun shines on. We take the season for what it has in hand. We accept present conditions and begin not to look for something different, but for Jesus just where we are. When we are looking for Him, He loves to have us find Him, since He is always looking for the soul who is looking for Him. As with Zaccheus, He will always find the tree into which we have climbed to look for Him.7
A further thought is that today shapes tomorrow. That is, what I build today is the foundation for tomorrow. In a well-defined sense, thoughts are things. That is, sentient beings think and therefore act. Action is the result of forethinking. This means that my thinking today is to bear fruit tomorrow in action.
Action makes other acts necessary. If one lie is told, it has power, someway, to require a second lie to keep it company. The murderer is compelled to do that which will, if possible, cover his crime. So not in the field of thought alone, but in action as well, does the Divine voice whisper concerning all our tomorrows, “As thy day.”
A missionary went to a foreign land. His work made it necessary for him to translate his Bible. One act of his life in a good direction required a second act to carry out his first. The Bible in the hands of the people created the need for schools. So the work enlarged. The act of one day whispered, “As thy day.” Today is thus always forecasting tomorrows.
A thought further: It is always “As Thy Day,” and not so much “as to yesterdays.” People in these days do not care so much about our past. They want to live for the present. Nor do they care so much about what we tell them we expect to be. They want the “now” people. They say the “has beens” may have done well enough for the last year, but for the present we want those who can bring things to pass. Nor do they care so much about the “shall-be’s.” The watchword of the times is, “As Thy Day.”
- The text itself is public domain. The original book, Soul-Help Papers, was transcribed by Jim Kerwin, biographer of Isaiah Reid, and co-edited and emended with Denise Kerwin. Annotations and emendations are copyright © 2008 by Jim Kerwin along with his other contributions to the online, print, and e-book versions of Isaiah Reid's Soul-Help Papers. ↩
- Title image created using an image by Eberhard Grossgasteiger on https://unsplash.com/@eberhardgross. ↩
- The reference seems to be a paraphrase of part of Joshua 3:4 — “…ye have not passed this way heretofore.” ↩
- orison: even as far back as Webster's 1828 dictionary, this word meant a prayer of supplication; but Reid seems to use the word in a slightly different way. ↩
- The reference is to 1 Corinthians 15:28. ↩
- Hebrews 13:8 ↩
- See the story in Luke 19:1-10. ↩