Abundant Living Vol. XII, Issue 41

“I will trust and not be afraid.”  Isaiah 12:2 

Each day life presents us with a smorgasbord of surprises.  In fact, the most certain thing there is about life is the uncertainty of it.  Our nature is, however, to view that as mostly something to be feared.  And while it is true that uncertainty is sometimes linked with tragedy such as the recent hurricane that pummeled the country of Haiti and much of our east coast, it can also be a great source of joy and delight, often occurring in small ways such as the taste of food, the refreshment of the morning air, the laughter of children, or casual conversation with a friend.  The late Oswald Chambers explained it this way:  “. . . we do not know what a day may bring forth.  This is generally said with a sigh of sadness, it should be rather an expression of breathless expectation.” 

Perhaps our fear of surprise is because our best laid plans are so often disrupted by it.  The great Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759-1796) mused about this in his poem “To a Mouse”.  Written as an apology to a mouse who had built her nest beneath some stalks in the middle of a cornfield, only to have it demolished by the blade of the farmer’s plow while plowing the field, the farmer/narrator attempts to tell the little mouse that he meant her no harm.  He goes to great lengths in describing the imagined plight of the poor mouse, how she had toiled to build a safe dwelling for her family that would protect them against the approaching bitter cold of winter, only to have her plans go awry.  Then, after a lengthy apology the narrator shifts gears a bit and becomes philosophical, and that is where we pick up the familiar line:  “The best laid schemes of mice and men / Go often askew, / And leave us nothing but grief and pain, / For promised joy!  Still you are blest, compared with me! / The present only touches you: / But oh! I backward cast my eye, / On prospects dreary! / And forward, though I cannot see, / I guess and fear!” 

Poor little mouse, victim that she was, is to be envied; for she lives with no preconceived notions of what each day might bring, whether tragedy or joy.  And since we too do not know what a day may bring forth, shouldn’t it begin with “an expression of breathless expectation”?  For in the words of Isaiah, “I will trust and not be afraid.”

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