Uncertainty is unsettling. We do not know what lies in the future, or what happens beyond death. It is probably not surprising that so many people read horoscopes; we feel so much more comfortable if we know (or think we know) what is in store for us. And for the same reason, it is natural for the bereaved to crave news of their loved ones and to visit mediums in the hope of finding reassurance.
But these are things that we cannot have any certainty about. God knows all things – He already sees and knows our futures – but such knowledge is withheld from us.
Israel facing the future
When Israel were camped on the east bank of the River Jordan, about to cross over into the Promised Land, Moses preached a sermon to them. It was a very long sermon (we know it as the book of Deuteronomy), and towards the end he gave them this reassurance:
“The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children for ever, that we may follow all the words of this law.” (Deuteronomy 29:29)
They didn’t know what the future held, and God wasn’t going to tell them. He knew that there were some good times ahead for them – and also some very bad times. But they could be sure of one thing: that He had a plan for them. They knew all that they needed to know: enough to trust Him, and enough to do their bit by keeping the Law.
Christians facing the future
The weeks following Jesus’ resurrection must have been exhilarating for His disciples. With their Lord come back to life, surely anything must have seemed possible – even the end of history and the coming of God’s Kingdom on earth (Acts 1:6). They thought they knew what the future held… but they were wrong. The Kingdom wasn’t going to be consummated immediately; instead, Jesus left them with a commission to evangelise the world.
“It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:7,8)
They didn’t know (and couldn’t know) God’s timetable, but they knew all they needed to know: enough to trust Him, and enough to do their bit by telling everyone about Jesus.
We still don’t know when Jesus is coming back; but we know what we have to do in the meantime.
We don’t know how long we have to wait; but we know that God is in control.
He is taking care of the big picture – so we can also trust Him with the details.
What is your ‘unknown’? God knows it.
What do you fear? God is in control.
You – and I – are in His hands… whatever happens.