To finish one long and hard day, only to know that the next day will be more of the same is defeating.
We are all probably moving a little slower these days. Most days I feel like I’m moving through molasses. I’ve also found that one of my struggles with sheltering in place and social isolation is that every day looks the same. This isn’t a terrible thing if we’ve had a good day, but it’s horribly discouraging when we’ve had a hard day. To finish one long and hard day, only to know that the next day will be more of the same is defeating. Many years ago Elisabeth Elliot made popular an old poem.
From an old English parsonage down by the sea
There came in the twilight a message to me;
Its quaint Saxon legend, deeply engraven,
Hath, it seems to me, teaching from Heaven.
And on through the doors the quiet words ring
Like a low inspiration: “DO THE NEXT THING.”
Many a questioning, many a fear,
Many a doubt, hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from Heaven,
Time, opportunity, and guidance are given.
Fear not tomorrows, child of the King,
Trust them with Jesus, do the next thing
Do it immediately, do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care;
Do it with reverence, tracing His hand
Who placed it before thee with earnest command.
Stayed on Omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing,
Leave all results, do the next thing.
Looking for Jesus, ever serener,
Working or suffering, be thy demeanor;
In His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
The light of His countenance be thy psalm,
Strong in His faithfulness, praise and sing.
Then, as He beckons thee, do the next thing.
I have started working on Lucy’s baby blanket and it is moving slower than any other. It will be finished one day, one quilt block at a time. When it graces her crib it will be tear soaked and prayed over.
And when the time comes we will trust it with Jesus and do the next thing.
Mundane tasks seem difficult in the middle of grief. It feels hard to focus on the task at hand, whether laundry, cooking dinner or bathing children. There are many tasks that I simply don’t want to do. I don’t want to change Jane’s room. But I’m learning to do the next thing. I will feed our family, even if it’s take out or pb&j and I will thank God for providing. I will do laundry when it’s absolutely necessary, because clothes are a privilege and I want to be a good steward. I will find joy in bathing my children, because they are here and I’m so thankful for such good gifts. It isn’t time to change Jane’s room yet, but I know it will be soon, and when the time comes we will trust it with Jesus and do the next thing.
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23
The Lord is good and we can trust Him. Even when the days are slow, filled with uncertainty or constantly changing, we can know that Jesus is constant.