Venturing the Wild Unknown
August 17, 2013 § 3 Comments
Last week Katherine and I walked past the shop pictured here. I’ve always wondered why folks would pay for someone else to tell them their futures by looking at the lines and ridges on one’s palms. I look at mine and see nothing but blotches that bear evidence of aging! When you think about it, the thirst for the unknown is at the heart of the very first sin. Ever since, we have been trying to figure out the future.
There is something about the unknown that terrifies us, and the idea of trusting our lives into the hands (ironic, isn’t it) of a sovereign God is sometimes too much to accept, I know.
Let me offer another way of looking at it…
The future is a wild unknown. The immediate future, that is. God has already told us the big story. The big story is that He is making everything new, and that through Jesus we have been written into the narrative. It is the short-term future, our here-on-earth futures, that make us crazy. Housing markets change on a dime. Human life is fragile. Jobs come and go. It is all so uncertain, and regardless of how hard we try, we can’t know how things will unfold, past the moment. We save our dimes, choose our relationships and raise our children, but at the end of the day, the moment is what we live in. It is all we have.
Now this is the place where we pastor-types offer well known assurances such as what Jesus says in Matthew 6 about seeking first the kingdom of God, or Jeremiah 29 where God reminds us that He knows the plans He has for us – all beautiful assurances. But I want to take it in another direction here.
When I am distressed over the future it is usually because I am nervous about the present – something is stirring in my universe in the right now – something I can’t control. And my instinct is to reach into the future and get a piece of information that will settle my heart.
But I can’t. I can’t because I am unfinished and I see only a ‘reflection,’ as Paul puts it. I can only know ‘in part.’
But consider this: What would you do if you did know the future – the immediate future, that is? Doesn’t it follow that if we are prone to stress over what we don’t know, that we will stress over what we do know? The details? The timetable? The pitfalls? The mistakes? The pain and suffering we will encounter?
Here is what the gospel gives us: not so much that we know but that we are known – and loved. In other words, either I will be a slave to fears over a future and a thousand details I can never wrap my arms around, or I can entrust myself to the One who knows and loves me, and will never lose His grip on me – now – in the moment – or ever.
The future is a wild unknown – but not to God. I am known and loved by the Father, and Jesus is risen.
What good news…
grace & peace.