Over the last week I have enjoyed watching the Tour de France and Lance Armstrong’s return to the sport after a three year break. The competition has been terrific. One reason I enjoy watching the Tour is because of the beautiful mountainous locations of some of the daily rides or stages. This is a map of the route.
Today and the next few days, the riders will be traversing over the Swiss Alps, a gorgeous part of Europe. I was stationed in southern Germany for one of my Army assignments and we lived about 45 minutes north of Innsbruck in the foothills of the Austrian Alps. My last day of skiing in Europe was on a Swiss mountainside so I can appreciate that the scenery in that area of the world is breathtaking. It’s easily the prettiest place I have ever been.
I don’t fully understand the team dynamics and strategy of the Tour, having never competed in this type of event. My only experience in cycling has come from participating in two mini-triathlons where the cycling leg was only 20 miles. Today’s stage in the mountains of Switzerland was 126 miles, and the last mountain climb was almost a 3000 foot elevation change.
The fourth place finisher in today’s stage was Bradley Wiggins from Great Britain. In a post-stage interview the commentator was asking Wiggins to talk about his strategy in the next several days while they would be in the mountains. In his response, Wiggins repeatedly used the phrase, “It’s a day-by-day thing.” He must have used this phrase 4 times over a 60 second interview. He was adamant in making the point that he was not looking beyond the current day’s stage as he determined his strategy for the Tour. The language he used reminded me of a few verses I read during my devotional times this past week.
In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus tells us in Luke 11:3, “Give us each day our daily bread.” In this prayer to his Father that Jesus models for us, He is asking God for what we need day-by-day. The prayer for “daily bread” is a petition for daily spiritual nourishment that comes from the abiding communion with Christ so that we might truly live perpetually with God.
In Matthew 6:25-34 Jesus addresses anxiety and worry. Isn’t it interesting that Jesus also reminds us here to live life day-by-day. He tells us:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
As the cyclist has adopted an attitude of taking the Tour de France day-by-day, Jesus wants us to trust in Him day-by-day. He wants us to believe that He will provide for our needs one day at a time. This is not easy for us because, in our nature, we really want to know that our needs and desires are going to be met. I don’t know about you, but I have a tendency to want to try to “map out” my days and line up all the resources I need for the day. I sometimes fret and worry about all the details. Planning is a good thing and it is important to be successful in a ministry or a business, but Jesus wants us to first and foremost, place our trust in Him to provide… to live day-by-day with His help.
Additionally, lot’s of health issues can come from worry and anxiety. Any physician will tell you of the medical complications that will eventually surface if you are a chronic worrier. God knows this as well. That’s just one reason why Jesus exhorts us to put our faith and trust in Him to supply all of our needs. Trust and faith in Jesus is an essential Spiritual Exercise for living life. Day-by-day.
Questions to Ponder
Do you tend to worry a lot? Are you chronically anxious?
What would it look like for you to let go of some of your control on life and in your relationships and to trust Jesus more?