We all struggle against a human propensity to worry about the future. I know very few people who are completely content with the present and have no qualms about what is to come.
Will I have a job?
Will I complete the project?
Will my family be OK?
Will I be successful?
Will I have enough?
Will I find a spouse?
Will we have children?
Will my dad get better?
Will the pain ever go away?
We worry because uncertainty exists. The past may be factual, but the future is always speculative. While it's prudent to prepare for the future, it's too easy for healthy planning to slip into worry. Then we find ourselves living in the future, consumed with what will be instead of what is. We miss life in the present tense because we're rushing ahead to live in the future.
In his poem "A Prayer in Spring," Robert Frost writes:
Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here.
There was a church in Roman Macedonia in the first century. A city called Thessalonica. They were concerned that maybe they missed the future already and Jesus had returned for the Last Day. Had they missed it? And they were so concerned with the Last Day (certainly a noble concern) that they began to release their present duties. Idleness and apathy set in.
So Paul wrote a couple letters in which he exhorts them to present work. He says, "That our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power" (II Thess. 1:11-12). God is working in you presently, to do good things now. Worrying about the future strips us of the capacity to truly be attentive to our present calling. When we recognize this, we release the obession with "what could be," and we live where we are now.
God will work the harvest. Now is the time for tilling and planting. Concern yourself with the present tasks and trust that future results fall within the governance of the Living God. What has God given you to do today? Take joy in the work set before you presently.