Wednesday, January 05, 2022

Into an Uncertain Future

We who love Christ are often preoccupied with what is immediate; that is, what we need for today, next week, month, year or during our short lifespan.

It is right that we should sense our dependence on God for all things, looking for his guidance and provision. The Lord taught his followers to pray about such matters. “Give us this day our daily bread” is an example. Ezra sensed how dangerous the journey in front of the returning exiles could be. He called upon his companions to humble themselves before God, “to seek the right way for us and our little ones”.

All such concerns are things that focus on this life and have to do with time. In contrast to eternal issues they often seem more pressing, more “immediate”.

God’s Will and His Eternal Purposes

But we shortchange ourselves if we think of God’s will only as it may impact on our present circumstances. I believe that when the apostle prayed that his readers “might be filled with the knowledge of his will” in Col. 1:9, he was not thinking of time but eternity, of his will not merely for individuals, but for the Church as a whole. We need to grasp that — and let it grasp us!

We may say, “Oh yes, but I prefer to deal with personal and practical truths.” But it is most practical to think deeply on God’s will “according to the eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord”. Only as we think of Christ’s death on the cross, the empty tomb in Joseph of Arimathea’s garden, and the filled throne in heaven, and all that results from his triumph, will we be able to walk worthy of the glorious calling that is ours. That glory he won for himself is also immeasurable gain for all who form his Bride. Furthermore, it is an accomplished work. That should lift your feet, weary pilgrim! And in the meanwhile, “He will not suffer you to be tested above what you are able to bear”, for “He cares for you.” He has put in the hands of his saints a guarantee of all that is best for now and forever. The only thing not covered is self-will.

God’s Will and Self-Will

That last sentence points to the root of most of our fretting and our fears. We do not want to be deprived of the immediate — of this or that or, of course, of life itself. But why should we fear when we know the Lord’s choice for us and our loved ones is the one we would make if we had all the information? Do we need to say with the poet, “I give thee back the life I owe”?

I am writing with real sympathy. I have looked death in the face more than once. Those experiences were, in part, to teach me to relax my hold on that which it was beyond my power to keep and to give thanks to the One who is ever faithful. Your present or future struggles may not be the same as mine but we have the same Savior. He is the preserver of all, but especially of believers. We commend you to his care. You could not be in safer hands.

— Colin Anderson, “Facing Unwanted Trials”, November 2013

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