What will the future bring? This is a question many of us ask ourselves, especially those of us who are in high school. Will I go to college, and if so, where? Will I get married? What kind of job will I have? There are many decisions we must make in the next few years of our lives. But don’t get all stressed out about them! We are not alone. Parents and friends can help make choices and encourage us, but above all, God will help us through. He will always be there to lead and guide us. We just have to put our trust in Him and wait for Him.
We often worry about the future, mostly about insignificant “crises” like what to wear to the banquet or how to earn enough money for a car. Sometimes there are real problems like whether or not a loved one will live another day. In Matthew 6:25, Jesus tells us, “Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on.”
Today we don’t have to worry about having food, clothing, or shelter; our tables are always heaped with steaming dishes, our closets bulge with impressive wardrobes, and we live in nice cozy homes. But not too long ago, Christians really had to take this verse to heart. I’m talking about the Great Depression. When we read about this in history books, it seems like a long time ago, but many of our grandparents can still remember it.
A couple of years ago, my grandpa wrote a letter about his experience as a child in the Depression. His father, like most men at that time, lost his job and had no way of earning money to support his family. Their family was separated when they lost their house to the mortgage company. My grandpa moved with his mother and sister to their grandparents’ farm in the country while his father had to stay in the city to look for employment.
Eventually, the family was able to live together again in a tiny apartment above a clothing store. As was typical of most apartments at that time, there was no central heating; it was heated by one coal burning stove which also went to sleep at night. There was no heat at all in the bathroom, and the bedrooms were freezing. Many families shared houses or apartments with aunts and uncles, cousins, grandparents, and, unfortunately, rats.
My grandpa’s family had a 1924 Model T Ford, but they didn’t use it all winter because they couldn’t afford gas and repairs. They walked where they had to go, although, with no money, there weren’t too many reasons to go out.
Many people had to pick up their rations of basic food staples like beans, milk, and flour from food stations.
The children got maybe one small present at Christmas, but nothing on birthdays. They wore potato sack dresses, or mended hand-me-downs. My grandpa remembers his mother making him a winter coat out of a man’s winter coat.
This should make us feel pretty guilty. We look at how much we have, and realize that we don’t have to worry at all about having enough food, clothing, or shelter. We forget the meaning of the word “necessities” and interpret it as a different outfit for every day of the month, at least one vacation a year, or going out for dinner on weekends.
Earthly pleasures aren’t what should be important to us. “For after all these things do the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things” (Matthew 6:32). In this same chapter, Jesus reminds us of how God takes care of the birds and the lilies. If he cares for them, how much more precious in his eyes are his own children. If we trust in Him, He will provide us with all we need.
The Christians living at the time of the Depression were drawn close to God and had to rely on Him constantly, they could not provide themselves with everything. Perhaps it would be good for all of us to experience real need. We should realize that it is very possible that we could still be living in the last days, when Christians will be persecuted as never before. We will not have all the comforts we have today. During those difficult days, we will have to trust God more than ever before. Maybe then we would be humbled, and realize that we are not masters of our own future, but receive everything we have as a gift from God.
My Grandpa summed up his experiences in the Depression by saying:
“I knew that we were poor and had no money for anything except the bare essentials, but this realization somehow didn’t matter. Our home was spiritual. Our life was tough, but we knew that we were in the care of our heavenly Father and that He would provide for our needs. My father and mother loved God and our Protestant Reformed Churches, and this was our focus. We never felt “poor,” we had our faith and the preaching of God’s Word to sustain us.”
We have so much to thank God for, and nothing to complain about. We must learn not to place so much emphasis on earthly possessions. Jesus says it all in Matthew 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
How do we seek the kingdom of God? We have to love and trust Jesus Christ, and draw near to Him in prayer. A song I learned a long time ago keeps coming back to me: “Why worry when you can pray? Trust Jesus, He’ll be your stay. Don’t be a doubting Thomas, rest fully on his promise. Why worry, worry, worry, worry, when you can pray?”
Lora is a student at Covenant Christian High School in Grand Rapids, Michigan.