In a recent conversation with my sister, as we were commiserating with each other over our live challenges, we both said, "If I had known what the future would hold, would I have had the courage to face it?"
There's no way to answer that question, because we never, ever know what the future will hold.
Most of us have heard of some of these famous predictions:
- "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."- Thomas Watson, IBM, 1943
- "There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."- Ken Olsen, Digital Equipment Corp, 1977
- "This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered asa means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us."- Western Union Memo, 1876
- "The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys."- Sir William Preece, British Post Office, 1876
- "The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?" - David Sarnoff's associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio, 1920s
I was somewhat amused at the outrage in Europe the week before Christmas over the disablement of several major European and British airports because of heavy snows. "Something must be done to fix this so it never happens again!" snorted governmental leaders. Fix what? Stop the snow? Control the weather? Sure, the airports may need to invest in more snow removal equipment, but we can never control what the weather brings even in the next second. As for weather predictions, any forecasts more than three days out are likely to be less accurate than a simple guess.
We can't know the future. We can only know the now. We can deal accurately and competently only with what is right in front of us, not what we think or fear is going to be there later today or tomorrow or next year or at the ends of our lives.
That means this moment's tasks, this moment's delights, this moment's pleasures or troubles, sunshine or rain, health or illness, riches or poverty, success or failure, good habit or bad habit. Most importantly, we can only face this moment's choice to live in slavery or to live in freedom.
I'm preparing a message series on the book called "Exodus," the second book in the Bible. This fascinating story chronicles the move of God's people from enslavement to freedom, the mixture of joy and unhappiness with the one who rose up to lead them to freedom, and their recurring desire to return to slavery.
The story gives a fascinating peek into human nature. Among other things, as much as we say we want and need those who would act as saviors, we're rarely overly happy with them. Furthermore, freedom carries gigantic costs, and I'm convinced most people would prefer not to pay those costs. Chains, metaphorical and real, let us blame others for circumstances. Courageous and holy freedom means we take responsibility for our own life choices.
No one can take away our ultimate freedom to live with godly integrity unless we give them that power. When we give away that power, we lose what it means to be human, the acknowledgement that we are made in the image of God.
Personally, I continually need to discern where I relinquish being fully God's woman because of fear, laziness, and my insistence that I know now what I will have to face later. This discernment process is a lifelong journey, ending only when I face God fully.
I invite you to join me in that ongoing journey.