Featured song: It’s Only Today That Counts, by Larry Norman, from the 1985 promotional album Back To America.

This song says it so well. Worry is the one thing that nearly everybody has, and  is something that benefits nobody. You think about the things you’ve done wrong in your life, where you’ve hurt someone else, hurt yourself, done something foolish, acted foolish, said something hurtful, and so many other things. Focusing on those failings of the past accomplishes nothing; you cannot rewind the tape and do it again correctly. It’s over, it’s done with.

The future is just as bad. Will I be able to get a job? Will I lose my job? Will I lose my wife or my family? What about the economy? What about the risk of wars in the world? Is it safe to drive the streets today? Can I go to the store? Will I be robbed or injured there?

So does this mean I should simply act like the things in my past never happened? Absolutely not. The successes and mistakes of the past are there to give me guidance on my actions for today. Rather than spending time whipping myself for my past failings, I just need to incorporate the lessons learned into today’s behavior, in order to not fail that way again. And something painful in the past — a personal injury, the loss of a loved one, being ridiculed in school — those things lose their power when you use the grace God’s given you and forgive yourself, or those who abused you, or even the God with whom you may be angry, because He didn’t prevent it.

Should I pretend that the world is perfectly safe, and not be concerned about anything? Again, the answer is no. There is a difference between worry and a healthy concern. Worry involves sitting and ruminating about something over which I have no control, and letting that helpless and hopeless feeling run my life and direct my actions. On the other hand, a healthy concern pays attention to possible dangers, and prompts you to either avoid them, or prepare to face them. It is dangerous to drive a car; the danger decreases considerably when I take appropriate measures to do what I learned in school: Stop, Look, Listen. Assume the worst might happen and prepare for it, but don’t make it a matter of fear; make it yet another reason to trust in the Lord.

Defeat the power of the past and the future,  live in the moment. As Norman says in the song — “It’s only today that counts, so live it like it might be your last.”

It ain’t no good to lay in bed at night
And worry about the past
About think of how you could have done things differently
But things just happened way too fast.

Just close your eyes, and go to sleep
Let the angels guide your dreams.
And let that pain unwind behind you
And float away on silent streams.

You must live your life the best you can
Though you sometimes do your worst.
And learn to laugh when you fail,
It’s not the end of the world
Your life’s a play you can’t rehearse.

Don’t make big plans for tomorrow,
You can’t control what lies ahead.
You must try to live each moment
As it comes instead.

There’s no use dreaming of a perfect future
Or regretting a troubled past.
It’s only today that counts
Live it like it might be your last.
It’s only today that counts
Live it like it might be your last.

It never helps to worry,
And it never hurts to pray,
Tomorrow will come soon enough;
Try to take care of today.
Just relax, and trust your life to God,
The future is in His hands,
Only faith will help you face this life’s demands.

There’s no use dreaming of a perfect future
Or regretting a troubled past
It’s only today that counts
And it might be your last.
It’s only today that counts
So live it like it might be your last.
Live it like it might be your last.
So live it like it might be your last.

Back To America, Larry Norman, 1985

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