As an IT professional and working in the industry for the past 18 years, the one thing I have always become accustomed to has been change. There doesn’t seem to be anything like technology and its constant moving forward. On more than a few occasions I have found myself investing time training to improve my skillset only to find myself behind still. As a recent example, I had certified in an industry standard network infrastructure course only to find out, once completed, that an update to the certification was coming the next year. If I’ve learned anything from the industry is that one must always be thinking ahead, if not one step ahead.
This reality has me thinking of Jesus; as I find circumstances in life often do. In the reading of the scriptures and in particular the words Jesus himself spoke, it is evident that as he faced the present his perspective was that of a forward thinker; this thought of how the present could or would impact the future. Knowing that this thought process would take into account all of us who have ever lived I, as stated in Psalm 38 v 8, “Stand in awe of God.”
In looking at much of what Jesus had said, two messages come to the forefront as priority; that of a future in store for the unbeliever and the future secured for those who place their trust in Him. In looking at these two specifically it becomes apparent that He has more to say to the unbeliever than to the believer. Matter of fact, 13% of all of what Jesus said was in regard to the fate of those who die outside of his grace and this should come as no surprise. In light of any present danger, the priority is always given to those exposed. That said, for the believer Jesus has some great things to say to remind and encourage the believer who is thinking if not forced to look to the future.
In the face of an uncertain future Jesus was quick to remind his disciples as well as us of his purpose. In John 16 v 7 Jesus states:
“But I tell you the truth, it is for your benefit that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.”
And who is this Advocate you say? It would be the Holy Spirit; the presence of the Living God inside of the believer as a source of guidance and comfort. And what will Jesus be doing from his place in Heaven you say? The answer is found in John 14 v 2- 4:
“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
If doing all this work were not enough, Jesus still puts the needs of us all ahead of his own when praying for us as outlined in John 17 v 20 – 23.
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
In placing this in my heart I hear the love He has for me. Even more than that, I see it in all that he has done for us on the cross and in the empty tomb.
Another forward thinker that comes to mind when searching for encouragement in the face of an uncertain future was the Apostle Paul. In spite of all he had faced, he seemed to welcome it in light of the secured future he had in Christ. In 2 Corinthians 5 v 7 – 9 Paul boldly states the following:
“For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it”
Wow is all I can say. When one’s priority is Christ’s glory, Paul shows that the method of God’s glory is of no concern. As a precursor to this revelation, Paul was willing to and had become whatever was necessary to save lives by the power of the living gospel. For further reference to Paul’s freedom in this regard, see 1 Corinthians 9. I simply and humbly pray, “Owe God, that I would have such faith.”
In closing, I refer to the reminder found in Ecclesiastes 5 v 1 which says:
“Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong.”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said to myself after a conversation, “I wished I had listened more and spoken less”. If you are standing in the midst of a storm or a trial, it is my prayer that in you’re searching the scriptures, in your prayers and meditations that you would have ears to hear. And in the hearing, all the joy the future holds for those who call on his name would be revealed. As you to think ahead, that you would see and rejoice.
God Bless – Sean Bosse