September 23, 2016

Knowing the future

God didn’t tell me what my future would be like as I followed Jesus. He took my hand and leads me step-by-step, rarely letting me know where the next step will take me.
It was not like that for Jesus; He knew what would happen to Him . . .

And taking the twelve, he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.” But they understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said. (Luke 18:31–34)

For me, faith is about taking those next steps in the dark as it were, yet Jesus also walked in faith even as He walked in the light of knowing what would happen next. I try to imagine it: knowing my fate and bravely moving toward it? Being able to say, “Not my will but thine be done”? Even telling those closest to me what would happen even if they didn’t get it?

Everyone wants to know the future and many try to predict it. Who will be in the World Series? What will happen in the current city because of riots? Who will be crowned the next beauty queen? Who will win the next election? Opinions and predictions make up most of the time on some television ‘news’ channels.

Do we want to know the future so we can prepare for it, or so we can change it? Is it giving us hope, or is it filling us with fear? Each day comes with thoughts about the future. I’ve guests coming for dinner tonight; will the meal be tasty? Or will I burn it? On a more important note, my sister called me last night with the news that our cousin’s son has cancer of the throat. What does his future hold? A cure? Or months of suffering and a painful death?

The gospel song “Because He lives” says, “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow . . . my fears are gone . . . I know who holds the future . . . I can face uncertain days because He lives.”

Jesus knew and embraced His own future. He knows my future too, but like the disciples, this is hidden from me, at least the ‘this lifetime’ part of my future. I believe that is a mercy, not a mistake.

What He does reveal is the future beyond this lifetime. I know where I will go when I die, the first face I will see, even a small description of eternity. I know I will be with Jesus and that when I see Him, I will be totally done with this transformation process that seems far too slow right now. I also know that those truths about God that are now “seen through a glass darkly” will be clear and will fill my heart with eternal joy.

I will see a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth will pass away, and the sea will be no more. And I will see the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I will hear a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:1–4)

I’m almost laughing because it just occurred that I have far more certainty about my future after I die than I do about today and whether or not I’ll burn the rice or put too much spice in the chicken!

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