Don’t Worry, Be Happy
(By Janet Baillie)
As I write this, we have just changed the clocks back to Greenwich Mean Time and the evenings are closing in. I wonder what the winter will bring? Certainly some changes: no bonfire on Cavendish Green, probably no Big Night Out in Long Melford, a different Remembrance Day. Perhaps no Christmas Markets as it’s difficult to socially distance at one of those; no Community Carols and fewer Christmas meals. We’ll still celebrate Christmas, but how?
We do like to plan, and we like to know what the future holds. Some of us worry when we can’t do that. Pre-COVID-19 we would say tomorrow I will do this, next week that, soon I will visit my family, in the new year I will have a holiday in the sun. Because these things regularly happened, we felt as though we were in charge of our own futures. In reality we had no more control of the future then than we do now. Prolonged heavy rain might mean we couldn’t get out of our road because of floods. Snowstorms might mean that we couldn’t leave our village, what of our plans then? The day before my Goddaughter’s 18th birthday one of our children caught mumps; no party for us! We were planning to fly home from Greece the day the air traffic controllers went on strike and so on… I’m sure you can think of times when your own future plans went awry.
We’ve faced and overcome disasters in the past. Do you remember the miners’ strike when we only had electricity on alternate days or the time when petrol was rationed in the 1970s? The great storm towards the end of the 1980s when for a while our lives were difficult, and felt dangerous?
Then as now, our future was in God’s hands not in our own. We didn’t need to worry about the future then and we don’t need to worry about it now. In Matthew 6:34 Jesus says, “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” (The Message)
If I were to choose a hymn it would be number 269 in Mission Praise, “I do not know what lies ahead”. The chorus says:-
I know who holds the future, and he’ll guide me with his hand;
With God things don’t just happen, everything by him is planned.
So as I face tomorrow with its problems large and small,
I’ll trust the God of miracles, give to him my all.
Our son, who has a talent for giving useless presents, once bought a fish on a plaque to hang on the wall. It could sense movement so when we entered the room it sang to us. One of its songs was “Don’t worry, be happy.” It seems like a good song for this winter.
(“I Do Not Know What Lies Ahead” by Alfred B Smith & Eugene Clarke, New Spring Publishing)