I don’t know about you, but I wonder about the future. A LOT. I am a planner by nature and I believe God designed me this way.
So it often feels a little cruel when He doesn’t share with me exactly what I can expect to happen in the future. When He doesn’t provide a list of obstacles I will encounter or losses I will suffer. Or warn me when I should keep my foot on the brake just a few seconds longer as the light turns green or when I shouldn’t try the potato salad at the 4th of July picnic or clue me in on the day I’d hear my daddy’s voice for the last time.
What will happen when my husband retires? Will he get a job here or do I need to start researching new locations and preparing the boys to say their goodbyes? Is it safe to start looking into that Alaskan cruise we’ve been talking about for years? Will this new business venture be successful enough for us to stay?
I want to know how much money I need to squirrel away for a rainy day or which classes I should take to provide skills for success or what days I ought to clear my calendar to help a friend in trouble or the verses I should memorize now so I’ll have them ready when I need them.
Is planning purely practical?
When I wonder about the future, I may say I’m just being practical and prudent, but my go-to response is often stress. I can’t help it. I want to be prepared for whatever comes next.
But after watching the incredible movie Breakthrough with Chrissy Metz, my perspective shifted a little. I knew what was going to happen before I purchased the ticket or nibbled my first piece of popcorn. In fact, I knew I would need a fistful of tissues to sop up the mascara sure to run rivers down my cheeks. (Had I known I was going to see that movie before putting on makeup I probably would have skipped mascara altogether.)
I thought I was prepared.
But it didn’t matter.
In fact, knowing what was coming next ruined the whole first 30 minutes of the movie. I couldn’t even enjoy getting to know the characters because I couldn’t get the upcoming loss out of my head. I was already mourning for something that hadn’t even happened yet.
And you know what else? Knowing didn’t change my reaction when her son finally fell through the ice. I still jumped and gasped and rained popcorn down on my lap. I still held my breath while the rescue workers searched for him. Chill bumps still popped up on my arms when the voice whispered for them to go back. My body still went a little limp when they finally pulled him out and my fists still clenched near my heart as they tried to revive him. Tears still fell hot from eyes nearly too blurry to see the screen.
Knowing he made a full recovery later didn’t shrink the shock or diminish the drama as they worked and prayed around the clock to save his life. Even knowing the community would band together and God would create something lovely from this tragedy didn’t make it any less beautiful as I watched it unfold.
Knowing what was coming didn’t help me one bit.Why knowing the future isn't all it's cracked up to be. Click To Tweet
And so I imagine it probably wouldn’t be that great in real life either.
Sure, if I knew I would die of cancer in six weeks or be wheelchair bound or lose my sight or if I knew the day a loved one would breathe their last, I’d likely make some changes in the way I live—hugging tighter, forgiving more, being offended less, wanting to be entirely present for every second while preparing my loved ones to face loss and grief and life after death, perhaps even planning out the big party I want to celebrate my final home-going. But I would likely also my spend my last waking moments attempting to manipulate the outcome by chasing every possible miracle.
Truly we all know our days here on earth are numbered. Death is a foregone conclusion from birth. Certainly some wisdom lies in living like today is our last day, but I believe my heart would be breaking into a million pieces making it impossible to enjoy my last days if I knew all of what was to come. Because I’ve come to know myself more in these last few years, I can say with a great deal of confidence, if God did tell me what was coming, I’d spend more time planning and preparing for every possibility than than trusting His power, provision, and promises.
Why God Lets Us Wonder About the Future
And so, this is why I believe God tortures planners like me with an unknown future:
- We couldn’t handle it if we did know.
- Knowing won’t make it any easier.
- We would waste today planning for tomorrow or next week or 5 years from now.
- Not knowing what’s coming forces us to trust the One who does know.
- God knows real peace comes from trusting Him not having a perfect plan.
What happens when we don’t wonder about the future?
Not knowing the future both frees and forces me to spend my present getting to know the One who does. The more I know Him, the easier it is to trust Him. I can release my need to plan ahead and prepare for every possible scenario when I trust God’s power, provision, and promises.
Consider how knowing the future worked out for the Israelites or Jesus’ disciples. For centuries, prophets foretold of the coming Messiah. But the most religious among Jesus’ people, were the least likely to recognize Him. Those same prophets spoke about the coming salvation by grace through faith. Jesus Himself told the Apostles what to expect about His death and resurrection, and they still tried to prevent the inevitable, feared, doubted, denied, and scattered. How prideful of me to think I would react any differently.
When I seek self-sufficiency in my own planning and preparation Satan tempts me to think I don’t need God’s strength to fight tomorrow’s battle. If I knew things would to turn out alright I’d be likely to skip the lifeline to my prayer warriors. What sweet support I would sacrifice all because I already knew what was coming.
Instead of begging God to reveal the future so we can plan, let’s ask Him to expose the pride that seeks self-sufficiency and replace it with the peace that comes from trusting His plans. As long as God is a part of the plan, I know I can trust Him.Do you ever wonder why God won't just fill you in on the future? Me, too! Read this to discover a better way! Click To Tweet
Instead of trusting myself to make good plans for the future, I want to trust God no matter what the future holds.
God’s Word contains everything He wants us to know about the future. He will be with us. He will provide for us. Jesus is coming back to judge us all. Those found in faith will reign with Him in heaven for eternity.
I want to be a woman who trusts the presence of her Savior in the absence of knowledge about the future. A woman who plans less and trusts more. One who is at peace today despite an uncertain tomorrow. A fierce woman of God who is prepared to face whatever the future holds because she believes in God’s provision, promises, and protection. The more I know Jesus, the less I need to know the future. The more wonder I feel about what God has done in the past, the less I wonder about the future.
When You Wonder About the Future
I created this printable Scripture and prayer worksheet for planners like me who need a little reassurance when they wonder about the future. Download your copy now!
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.Proverbs 3:5-8
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.Jeremiah 29:11
Therefore, do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you.Matthew 6:31-33
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.Isaiah 43:2
Here are 5 reassuring verses to turn to when you're frustrated by not knowing what the future holds. Click To Tweet
You keep in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusting in you.Isaiah 26:3