Ready for the Future
ARE YOU WORRIED? Anxious? Concerned? If so, it's probably because you are uncertain about the future. We fear poor health, a downturn in finances, loss of relationships or inability to manage our time or our lives.
Most of our greatest fears will never come to pass-thank God! Yet we spend our time speculating on what might happen and how we will deal with it when it does. Then we discover that our fears remain unrealized, and we worried for naught.
For a Christian, the key to avoiding unnecessary fear about the future is realizing three things:
1) God loves us more than we love ourselves,
2) He wants the very best for us and
3) He is ready, willing and capable of giving us exactly what we need.
I Corinthians 2:9 puts it this way, "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him." If you have a hard time believing this promise, ask God to confirm it for you.
What we need and what we think we want may be two very different things. We must acknowledge that God knows best, be willing to relinquish our conditions or demands and accept God's decision as to what is best for us. Short-term difficulties may, in fact, lead to blessing in the fullness of time. We must remember what the Apostle Paul said, "And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose," Romans 8:28. If you are finding it hard to trust God to do what is in your best interest, then ask Him to give you the ability to trust Him.
God Knows The Future
God knows what the future holds for each of us. While we can affect the future by our actions, no matter what we do, He knew we were going to make that choice and take that step. And He is always seeking good for us. In Jeremiah 29:11, God promises us, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
If you know in your heart that God is omniscient and trustworthy, then ask yourself if you are doing what He wants you to do. Are you acting in obedience? That means doing what He wants you to when and how He wants you to do it. If you are walking in obedience, let go and let God take over.
On the other hand, if you are not being obedient, and you know it, then you need to ask Him to help you become obedient. Acknowledge your disobedience and ask Him to help you turn from it and change your behavior. Be persistent. Insist that He intervene and do what you cannot do by yourself. It's your attitude that really counts. If you want to obey, you can trust God to enable you to be more obedient. How does this work in practice? What if you need a job, for example? Your first step might be to develop your resume and get it in the mail and on the Internet. Or it might be to make spending time with God a priority so that He can let you know what the next step is. You can actually pursue both tracks at the same time. You can do what conventional wisdom requires, AND you can ask Him to direct your steps. The psalmist puts it this way, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight," Psalm 3:5-6.
The key to knowing what God wants you to do is spending sufficient time listening to Him on a regular basis. You may then be confident that if He was speaking, you were present to hear! If you know you were available to hear, and yet heard nothing, you can confidently conclude that He had nothing for you to hear that day. Do what conventional wisdom requires that day and purpose to be back the next day and the next. Keep coming back and keep listening until you either hear or circumstances change to the point that you are able to recognize His direction through changed circumstances.
You may need to take the initiative or you may never have to do so. No matter what happens, you can be free from worry about the uncertain future. If you were positioned each day to hear what God wanted to say to you and were ready to obey, then you can be confident you've done your part. Listening and not hearing should give you the same degree of freedom from worry as hearing and doing. A good spiritual rule of thumb is to maintain the status quo until God clearly leads to the contrary. A corollary to that is: "If in doubt, don't!"
Since God knows the future and wants the best for you, trust Him to lead you into the future He has planned. As the future becomes the present, and the present becomes clear, you will find the uncertain becomes certain. Then the process begins all over again. It fact, it's a never-ending continuum.
The present becomes the past before we even realize it as the present. We are always dealing with the future, whether we are aware of it or not. We can draw confidence for the future by recognizing and thanking God for what He has done in the past. That's one reason older Christians often have less anxiety than their younger counterparts. They can look back and see how God has provided.
It's easier to stare the future in the face when you have a track record. But track record or no, it all boils down to taking sufficient time listening to the Creator of the Universe. Then we can be sure to hear Him when He speaks and commit ourselves to doing what He calls us to do. As the old saying goes, we may not know what the future holds, but we know Who holds the future. And that makes all the difference.
- by Ken Smith
© 2003 by Christian Stewardship Ministries. Reprinted from Glad Tithings newsletter, Fairfax, Virginia. Used with permission.
For further reading:
• Strategic Business Concerns: Learning How to Anticipate the Unexpected
A checklist to arm and inform you on a wide host of tax, operational and financial issues you will want to come back to again and again.
• Atlanta CPA Teaches Business, Church and Ministry Financing
Perhaps the most important first step is the development of a Business Plan to help you along the way to ensure that your plans are achieved.
• Funeral Planning
People grapple with many questions as they arrange or pre-arranging funerals for loved ones. What are your rights and options?
• Finding God's Plan For Your Income Taxes
Have you thought about your income taxes for the coming year? Maybe you'll be in line at the Post Office before the stroke of midnight on April 15.
• God's Way of Finding a Job
If you find yourself in the job market, remember that God has planned a particular job for you. He designed it for you before the beginning of time.
• Making a Will
Although wills are easy to create, about half of Americans die without one. By making a will you decide what happens to your property after your death.