When Lincoln was on his way to Washington to be inaugurated, he spent some time in New York with Horace Greeley and told him an anecdote that was meant to be an answer to the question everybody was asking him: Are we really going to have a civil war?
In his circuit-riding days Lincoln and his companions, riding to the next session of court, had crossed many swollen rivers on one particular journey, but the formidable Fox River was still ahead of them. They said one to another, “If these streams give us so much trouble, how shall we get over the Fox River?” When darkness fell, they stopped for the night at a log tavern, where they fell in with the Methodist presiding elder of the district who rode through the country in all kinds of weather and knew all about the Fox River. They gathered about him and asked him about the present state of the river. “Oh, yes,” replied the circuit rider, “I know all about the Fox River. I have crossed it often and understand it well. But I have one fixed rule with regard to the Fox River—I never cross it till I reach it.”
Worry projects the worst: the Fox becomes the mighty Mississippi at flood stage. Worry loads the present with the weight of the future. And when you load the troubles you are anticipating upon the troubles you are presently experiencing you give yourself an impossible burden.
As George MacDonald wisely put it: “No man ever sank under the burden of the day. It is when tomorrow’s burden is added to the burden of today, that the weight is more than a man can bear.”
Jesus said just that in his summary statement of the parallel passage in Matthew: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34).
Keeping the faith,