I walk alongside cornfields now that I’m retired. I did so as a child 60 years ago. The difference is that 60 years ago I walked alongside Iowa cornfields on the farm where I grew up. Now I walk along cornfields in rural Mexico where we live part of the year to be near our daughter and her family. Who would have guessed? Not me!
The future is so unpredictable. The great theologian Woody Allen (okay, I’m kidding about the great theologian part) said, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him about your plans.”
I remember when our church was talking to bankers about financing a possible building program. They wanted us to estimate our church attendance and financial income for two years, five years, and ten years into the future. We did our best, though I thought it a foolish endeavor at the time; we had no crystal ball. As it turned out, 9/11 happened soon thereafter, and a great many people’s expectation of how the future should unfold went out the window, including ours.
Everyone of us can come up with a very long list of how things have turned out differently than we had hoped or figured. Sometimes events have turned out for the worse, sometimes for the better, and sometimes just differently.
I recall my mother often concluding any conversation about future plans with the phrase, “The Lord willing.” I find myself doing the same.
It’s not that we shouldn’t plan for the future, not to do so would be shortsighted. It’s just that we need to do so realistically, realizing that plans can help make things happen the way we want but don’t guarantee that things will happen the way we want.
The good news is that when we have a deep faith and trust in God, the unknown future need not be feared. To paraphrase an old adage, “I don’t know what the future holds, but I know the One who holds the future.”
One of the characteristics of God that I find both amazing and comforting is that He knows the future, that He controls the future. He’s a good God, so if we’re in relationship with Him He walks into our future with us, even is in our future waiting for us. Nothing that happens catches Him by surprise. He has a plan, and it’s good!
“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a few years there, carry on business and make money.’ …. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.'” James 4:13,15