Something Better than a Crystal Ball

A few times in the last weeks I’ve been asked questions about the future. Some of these questions have referred ironically to my crystal ball, and I must admit that there have been moments when I have found myself with no clue as to how to answer.

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Predicting the future is never easy, but our current circumstances make it hugely more difficult. We are at the mercy of decisions made in other places by people whose priorities are both opaque and very different from our own. Those decisions are often presented to us at very short notice, sometimes even after they are supposed to have been implemented.

I don’t, of course, have a crystal ball, but I do have something that is in some ways considerably better. I am referring to the promises of Almighty God.

Those promises don’t, I hasten to add, allow us to know what the Government will announce, on or around the end of the current lockdown. They don’t tell us what the winning numbers on the lottery are going to be, or who will win the Premier League title next year.

Further, they don’t suggest that our lives of Christian faith and discipleship are going to be easy or straightforward. On the contrary, the Bible is clear that those who are faithful to Christ will encounter trials and persecutions.

All of that might tempt you to wonder what those promises are worth! It’s only human to want to know the detail of what is coming next. It’s only natural to want to hear that our future will be better than our present and our past.

God does not offer us that, at least not for this present life. But I think that what God does promise is of far greater value. God’s offer of forgiveness of our sins and a share in God’s own eternal life adds up to a promise that we can live without guilt and without fear.

God knows better than we know ourselves what we most profoundly need and seek, so it’s interesting to note that rather than guaranteeing a life of ease and comfort, still less a winning lottery ticket, God promises us something else: a security based on a share in God’s own eternal life; a happiness based on a relationship with God in Christ.

I can’t tell the future. In fact, most of my efforts to do so end up making a fool of me. But I can point everyone towards the amazing promises of God. These promises point us towards a deeper understanding of what we really need as human beings, as well as reassuring us that our future, as indeed the future of all things, is neither known nor fixed, but is in God’s hands.

May God bless you all,