A year from yesterday, a new American president will be sworn in. What will he or she face?
The stock market declined another 249 points yesterday. Militants attacked a university in Pakistan, killing at least nineteen. A car bomb in Kabul killed six. Teacher protests in Detroit closed most public schools there. A new study indicates that "no religion" is now the majority religion in Great Britain.
A new poll tells us that ten percent of college graduates think Judge Judy is on the Supreme Court. Atheist Michael Newdow has again filed a lawsuit seeking to remove "In God We Trust" from our currency. And North Korea claims to have invented hangover-free alcohol.
It gets even worse, apparently: Stephen Hawking, the best-known physicist in the world, is quoted in a Time headline as predicting that disaster on Earth is becoming a "near certainty." However, it turns out the cosmologist is talking about "the next thousand or ten thousand years." Within the next 100 years, he believes, we will have learned to colonize space, so our race will survive. We just need to avoid destroying our planet until we learn how to leave it. We all hope the next president is up to the challenge.
When we survey the present with its economic turbulence, political turmoil, and global conflicts, it's easy to be pessimistic about the future. But with God, pessimism and faith are antonyms.
I've been reading through Nehemiah recently and found a verse I'd never considered before. The text describes Israel's conquest of Canaan: "They captured fortified cities and a rich land, and took possession of houses full of good things, cisterns already hewn, vineyards, olive orchards and fruit trees in abundance" (9:25). The Promised Land was first the Prepared Land. While the Jews were suffering in Egypt and wandering in the wilderness, their Lord went ahead of them to make ready the land they would one day inherit.
Our Father does the same for us. His will never leads where his providence has not prepared. If he leads you to share your faith with someone today, know that his Spirit has already been working in that person's heart. If he calls you to sacrificial obedience, he has already prepared the results of your faithfulness. Right now, Jesus is making heaven ready for your arrival (John 14:2–3). In the meantime, he is preparing your next place of service before he calls you to it.
It's hard to trust that God is working in the future when we can only see the present. But with our omnipotent Lord, every moment is the present moment. He is the "I Am" (Exodus 3:14). He is as able to prepare for us tomorrow as he is to provide for us today.
What about the future is troubling you right now? Name that challenge. Claim the fact that God is already preparing you to meet it. Know that when you step from the boat onto the water, Jesus is there waiting for you (Matthew 14:22–33). And others will see your confident faith and be drawn to your Father.
"This is the victory that overcomes the world—our faith" (1 John 5:4).
Publication date: January 21, 2016
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