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On Hard Days and in Tragedy, Remember God's Promises

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  • Updated Nov 06, 2017

Today, I woke up to horrible news.

More tragedy. More lives lost. More violence, more pain, more grief.

Every time this happens (and it doesn’t it seem to keep happening more and more?), I grieve and I mourn and I pray with everything in me that tomorrow will somehow be better than today.

The question that lingers, though, is this: “If tomorrow is as difficult as today, or is even harder than today, how will I go on?” This is what Benjamin Vrbicek asks in his latest Desiring God article “What If Tomorrow Is Even Harder Than Today?

Maybe you, like me, are wondering the same thing today. Maybe the news out of Texas this weekend has devastated you. Maybe you're still recovering from a different tragedy, still rebuilding after destruction, still grieving the loss of loved ones. Maybe you got a diagnosis recently that has you reeling. Maybe you are in a relationship that's falling apart, or are battling something that feels impossible to conquer. Maybe it all feels like too much, or like you aren’t enough. 

Vrbicek points us to a passage from the Old Testament that is incredibly relevant today: Deuteronomy 8:3.

“He humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every words that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”

This passage was written for the Israelites, at a time in their lives where they were completely dependent on the Lord for everything. They had been wandering in the wilderness for forty years, journeying toward the land the Lord had promised them, feeling worn down and weary. They were stretched thin, exhausted, and ready to call it quits.

Can you relate? I can.

It feels like I’ve been in the woods for days, weeks, even months now, stumbling my way through, feeling attacked on every side. The only thing that has kept me going is confidence in what the Lord has promised me.

In these times where it feels like we are so hungry for healing, hope, justice, and peace, these words from Deuteronomy remind us that the Lord sustains us. Right now, many of us are feeling like the first part of this verse-- hungry, desperate, humbled, empty. But the second part of the verse reminds us of truth-- it is not the things of this world that will satisfy us in our times of need, but God alone.

“When we fear tomorrow may be more difficult than today-- when we feel like butter scraped over too much bread-- God wants us to feed upon his promises,” Vrbicek writes.

Each new day, the Israelites were to gather just enough manna for that one day. If they tried to hoard extra just in case, it would spoil. Each new day, they had to begin again. They had to go to sleep at night believing that the Lord would be faithful to provide for them again the next morning. They had to have confidence that he would be true to his promises, that he would give them exactly what they needed to keep up their strength and keep going. They had to believe that God was who he said he was, and that he would do what he said he would do. The same is true for us today.

Each new day, the Israelites had to believe again. Each new day, we too have to believe again.

“Left to ourselves, we are always, only, ever a house of cards,” says Vrbicek. “Yet beneath our flimsy hope of self-sufficiency rests the rock-solid promise of a good and gracious God, always strong and sovereign.”

When we are grieving, mourning, doubting, and struggling, we can hold fast to the Lord’s promises. When tragedies come and we find ourselves questioning God, we can go back to his Word and remember his faithfulness to his people. When tomorrow comes, even if it is more difficult than today, we can cling to Jesus and to the promise of life eternal in glory with him.

Like Revelation 21:4 says, "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." That's a promise we can cling to, no matter what tomorrow brings.

Photo credit: Unsplash

Publication date: November 6, 2017

Rachel Dawson is the design editor for