“Help me to walk in the way of wisdom—
trusting You no matter what happens in my life.”
Jesus Listens, September 19
He was given the gift of one day. One sunset. One sunrise. Just one rotation of the planet before he left it.
Unlike the average American, he wasn’t gifted with almost eighty years of life on this earth. No, he was given the gift of one day. However, the way Jude Samuel Shook unwrapped the divine gift of his one day gave us, his grandparents, a gift that has changed the way we now live every day. A little boy who lived on this earth for just a handful of hard-fought hours taught us how to live our years.
Our son Josh and his wife, Kelli, found out at their twenty-week pregnancy doctor’s visit that something was severely wrong with Jude’s kidneys. The doctor explained that Jude would be healthy and fine inside the womb, but after he was born, he wouldn’t be able to survive but for a few hours. Of course, this was crushing news for our whole family, but we immediately surrendered our broken hearts and little Jude to His purpose. From that day forth, Jude began teaching us powerful lessons about God’s love for us and His wisdom for our lives.
Day by Day
Right away, I (Kerry) grabbed a notebook I titled “The Miracle Book” and began writing down every day the lessons God was teaching us. I think the most important lesson we learned is, when tomorrow feels overwhelming, pray: “Just for today, Lord!” That’s how Jesus taught us to pray. “Give us today our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11 NIV). He didn’t say “monthly bread” or “yearly bread.” No, God’s provision comes in daily amounts.
Intense Daily Prayer
In our journey with Jude, the weight of the day was all we could face and focus on. The burdens of tomorrow felt too overwhelming to think about. The line we prayed more often than any other, and with more intensity than ever, was this: “Just for today, Lord . . .”
Just for today, Lord, give us the strength to endure whatever hard things we have to face.
Just for today, Lord, provide us with the wisdom to know what to do, which questions to ask, and how to prioritize it all.
Just for today, Lord, help us respond kindly to people who may frustrate us or irritate us.
Just for today, Lord, help us not to give up.
Just for today, Lord, meet the needs you know we have.
Just for today, Lord, hold us close.
Have you ever been there?
Jesus Wants Our Worry
Jesus said, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself” (Matthew 6:34 NIV). We felt completely overwhelmed when we focused on tomorrow. The only way we could deal with the long road ahead of us was to break it down into manageable pieces: “Just for today, Lord.”
Really, that’s the only way to walk with God. One day at a time, totally surrendering to His provision for our emptiness and His strength for our weakness.
Prayer Over Worry
Maybe you’re at a place in your life where you can’t imagine how you’re going to make it through this difficult season. You’re not sure how you’ll be able to make it past the overwhelming problem that feels like a permanent fixture in your future. Jesus reminds us that we don’t have to worry about tomorrow; He’s already there working His plan and purpose for us. All we need to do is pray, “Just for today, Lord.”
We should’ve realized the importance of this basic truth sooner in life. The first thing we’re taught to pray, after we’ve praised our heavenly Father and aligned ourselves in faith under His will and purpose, is to ask Him specifically and expectantly for “daily bread.” But notice it’s perfectly in line with how God has created us to live from the beginning. We ask Him for this day’s bread. We lift to Him this day’s need. We walk with Him through this day’s minutes and hours. We keep ourselves tucked inside this day’s grace and provision. Whenever we allow our minds to be consumed by the plans we’re making for later—whenever we refuse to rein in our emotions and fears of what might happen—we functionally stop living in today. Our bodies and brains are here, but our souls are mostly somewhere else. We’ve stopped occupying this daily space where God created us to live. And therefore, His daily bread that He’s promised us doesn’t feel like enough.
We demand that He show us all the meals, or we assume He’s fine with watching us go hungry.
God created us as daily creatures. He has assured us He will provide an abundance of daily bread. Our role is to discipline our attention and stay focused on only those things we’re colliding with today. To stay in our place at the table. Where there is always enough bread.
Even when Jude went to heaven after just one day on earth, God reminded us that He had been rescuing us every day of our lives, and He wasn’t about to stop when it felt like our world stopped. For the first time in our lives, we realized that God was truly our everyday salvation! Scripture is clear: “Indeed, the ‘right time’ is now. Today is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2 NLT).
God’s salvation is found in today. We’ll never find His provision for today by looking for it in tomorrow. That means when tomorrow overwhelms you, all you need is God’s saving strength for today. Just for today, Lord.
About the Author
Kerry Shook is the senior pastor at Woodlands Church where he’s gained recognition for his ability to eliminate barriers of boredom, unfriendliness, and fear that keep people from experiencing a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Chris Shook is the Director of Missions at Woodlands Church, where her work has touched thousands of under-resourced people globally. Their most recent book, The Gift of One Day: How to Find Hope When Life Gets Hard, a Los Angeles Times bestseller which released on the eve of a global pandemic in February 2020, delivers a timely message on faith and hope in seasons of hardship.
Kerry and Chris Shook have been married for more than thirty years and have four adult children and six grandchildren.