In the early hours of Tuesday morning, February 25, 2020, Anders Hoffman completed Project Iceman. Just under 73 hours after starting (including 27 hours sheltering from a blizzard), he had finished the first Ironman-distance triathlon in Antarctica.
There were many points when he thought he wouldn’t make it, his body constantly telling him to give up. The only way through was to divide the distance into manageable chunks and just get through that next chunk. This is what he’d done a year earlier as he began training his body to stay in sub-zero temperature water. He divided the time into breaths and counted off sets of 60 breaths, breaking it down into chunks his mind could comprehend.
After completing this extreme Ironman challenge, it took a week by boat to get back to Argentina. Upon arrival, he discovered a world in the process of shutting down due to a global pandemic. All of a sudden, he was in another race, this time to get back to Demmark before the borders closed, which he accomplished with 11 hours to spare.
Commenting on life during Covid, Anders said “A lot of things we are dealing with are filled with uncertainty and our goals may seem far away right now. But dividing our journey into smaller chunks and not being overwhelmed by the distance still to travel can help you get there.”
It’s a helpful mindset! But not a new one, because this is exactly what Jesus says here in Matthew 6!
Our ultimate goal can seem far away and most of us are not able to see our way through to the finish line, either of life or of any of the other challenges we face. But we don’t have to! We simply have to take things in bitesize chunks, one day at a time and not borrow trouble from tomorrow.
And this is just one of several examples that point to our journey of faith being a one-day-at-a-time kind of thing. In fact, earlier in this chapter, Jesus teaches us to pray ‘give us this day our daily bread’. Like the Israelites with their manna in the wilderness, we cannot stockpile this bread. Rather it is a daily provision from our good Father, who gives His children bread to eat.
Long term planning can be a good thing but we must remember that it is sustained by daily bread.
So, though these times may fill us with uncertainty and the unknown end date may drive us crazy, we need not worry about tomorrow (or the day after or the day after that!). Rather we can, in restfulness, be sustained by today’s provision, because we know with confidence that new bread will come with every tomorrow.
New provision for each new day.