Tuesday, February 10, 2009

An Uncertain Future

As many may or may not know, my wife and I are officially leaving Albuquerque, NM and heading north to Missouri. The question that resonates constantly from many is "What are you going to do next?" Unfortunately, we don't have any harden-fast answers. We do have ideas, visions, general direction, dreams, etc. These internal confidence builders do little, however, to squelch the feelings of uncertainty we have as we look to tomorrow. We have no definite job, no definite ministry, no definite home, none of the things that help the average Joe sleep at night without chemical supplements.

As I thought of this unwelcome fact, I began to ask the Lord: "Why don't you give me clear direction. If only I had a clear understanding of the future, I could trust you more and be a champion of faith." Surely if God would just illuminate for me what precisely will happen in the future, I could rest easily and continue to do my work undistracted. True?

We have an example in scripture of Jesus truly giving his followers a play by play game plan. We see it multiple times, actually, but let's just look at one. In Matthew 16:21 it says: "From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life." Ah, that must have really put the disciple's minds at ease! Here they had been given the gift of foresight, the ability to anticipate the inevitable. Surely they must have rejoiced, finally at ease and able to go about their day.

Of course we know that's not what happened. In the very next verse, Peter takes Jesus aside and begins to rebuke him, which leads to the classic "Get thee behind me, Satan" rebuttal. This revelation of future events does very little to prepare the disciples, as they are blindsided when the events actually transpire, devastated and scattered like a group of unprepared idiots. Why did this happen? It happened because, even though the disciples had been informed of what the future would hold, they were still filled with uncertainty about the holdings of the future. They couldn't accept the defeatist attitude they perceived in Jesus because they believed that destiny would precipitate a different outcome.

Compare this reaction to the reaction of the disciples when Jesus gave them ANOTHER revelation about the future in Acts 1:8 "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." In response to this revelation, the disciple trusted in the Lord even in the midst of trials. They sought His power and received it, they acted upon His plan. What was the difference? They believed that Jesus was in control, and that He would bring about His purpose. Even when the way was rough and tough, they held fast to the promises of God and believed in Him.

Back to my story, I have come to realize that, even though my future is unknown right now, it is not uncertain. To quote the late Ira Stanphill: "Many things about tomorrow I don't seem to understand, but I know who holds tomorrow and I know who holds my hand."