Sunday, 15 August 2010

The Future

[Written in hospital]

If you are going to a place you don't know, it's a good idea to get a book about it or speak to someone who has been there, to prepare yourself for what you will find. The future is somewhere we are all going, and no one has ever come back to tell us what to expect. We guess the future based on the present and our plans, but we cannot guarantee anything. We simply hope. 'Since no man knows the future, who can tell him what is to come?' [Ecclesiastes 8:7].

Most of the time we expect our lives to go according to plan, but sometimes it changes beyond what we can cope with with minor adjustments. We have to do a major rethink. I recently had a stroke. There was no warning, and my whole life stopped. No going to work, no visiting my family and friends, no going anywhere. I completely lost control of my life. Now someone else decided when I should get up and go to bed, what I should eat. Gradually I am getting a little control, but I still can't get out of bed on my own.

The Christian faith gives a bedrock at a time when all else is shifting sand. We do not know the future, but we know Someone who does, and although He doesn't tell us what it will be, we know that He will look after us. 'And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.' [Romans 8:28].

The other thing God is that He has a track record. He has always been faithful and we can rely on that for the future. Paul said, 'My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.' [Philippians 4:19]. He doesn't always meet our needs in the way we would like him to, but when we look back we can see that He worked for our good.

Jesus told us not to worry: 'Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life … Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? … So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.' [Matthew 6:25,27,31,32]. He was not saying we should be careless about making provision, but we should trust God for the future. Notice also the mention of what we say. Negative talk feeds our fears, whereas positive speech about trusting God feeds a positive attitude. God should be in our plans as well as in our actions. Ask Him to be with us as we plan, but then get with making the best of what comes.

The future is a scary place, especially when life takes a left turn. A reassurance that Someone is watching over it with our benefit at heart makes a big difference.

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