The Future

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11

 

There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand.

Proverbs 19:21

 

 

I search Pinterest for the quotes that I include with these devotionals, as well as for messages to put on the church marquee. I came across this saying, and found inspiration for this week’s devotional: “I don’t know what the future may hold, but I know Who holds the future.”

 

I seem to have a lot of things going on in my life right now. Some of them are new and different experiences and activities that bring with them their own set of potential worries:

  • New role at work with more responsibility: Will I be able to determine the right things on which to focus my efforts? How can I train myself to think strategically? I need to define a dashboard with measurements of success within a week—wha??
  • Leadership position within a charity that is undergoing some change and challenges in its activities: What if we don’t get enough volunteers? What if stronger personalities on the Board of Directors commandeer the discussions and me, being the people pleaser I am, can’t get everyone’s voices heard?

And yet there are some that are the same areas year after year (but the questions/worries change over time):

  • My family: ‘Nuff said.
  • My extended family: One of my fathers-in-law turns 80 soon and his health isn’t what it used to be—what does that mean for the children? Why was my mother-in-law having the kids choose items to take home with them when we last visited? How will my nephew who is a challenging child handle going to middle school? Will my stepmother’s health ever get better?
  • My friends: One friend’s husband was just diagnosed with prostate cancer, another just lost her father, yet another’s father just went into hospice, one is in a somewhat loveless marriage and doesn’t know what to do
  • My cats: Why did Hobbes suddenly decide to start pooping on my floor ever so often? He’s not sick, he’s not in distress, what’s going on?
  • My church—How will He transform us? What if folks aren’t on the same song sheet within the church for this transformation—what if they don’t support it? When will He transform us? How’s Kevin’s health? What about the Vision Team—how are they holding up? Are folks getting spiritually fed and motivated? Do they feel His presence? Do they know Him?

And so on and on and on. Sometimes when I pray and start to noodle on one of the above, I find myself playing out potential outcomes (“well, if he does this, then we would do that, but then he wouldn’t agree and would get his feelings hurt, so then what if we did this other thing? But then what if he does that instead, then what would we do?...). I can normally surmise how a person is going to act or respond, but because of the human factor, I don’t always know. I’ve been surprised in the past when someone zigged when I thought he or she would zag, and so I can’t always get things right. One could argue that it is an exercise in futility to play these things out, because of the plethora of potential outcomes. I’d say that that’s a fair assessment, since I’m not clairvoyant.

 

Though I lack the ability to see the future, I know that my Heavenly Father has the future, and in fact, IS the future. I don’t have to tax my brain to try to discern the happenings and conclusions; He has experienced them in His infiniteness. What a comforting thought, yes? Our Creator, the great I AM, the God Who loves us more than we could ever imagine has our future in His hands, and wants to share and experience it with us.

 

Prayer Requests

  • For those who are burdened by the pain of past abuses
  • For those who have experienced the brutality of war and the abuse of power
  • For our church to be united
  • For us to grow in His will and direction  

 

May we never cease to be open and obedient to His promise and His plans.
 
 

Quotes

 

“God often uses our deepest pain as the launching pad of our greatest calling.”

 

“I accept my life as is. I do not judge; I do not dramatize. I let life’s events come freely and I welcome the lessons they convey. I stop struggling now. I let go and know that God always gives me that which is most appropriate for my soul.”