Facing the Future

Ecclesiastes 7:14

I read about an interesting European study that dealt with how people felt about knowing their future. It indicated that 85-90% of people would not want advanced notice about negative events. 40-70% said they would not want to know about upcoming positive events, rather preferring to be surprised. Only 1% indicated they would want to know what the future holds regardless.

I think those numbers are probably skewed. I imagine many of us would like to know what the future holds so we would not have to rely so much on preparing for the worst while hoping for the best. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the percentages are upside down, but I do think most would like an inkling as to what’s coming next.

As the sun is beginning to set on 2021, I think this is a timely reflection. 2022, much like 2021, will be full of ups and downs. We get to choose how we will respond to what’s coming, but it’s coming just the same. Ecclesiastes 7:14 tells us, “When times are good, you should be cheerful; when times are bad, think what it means. God makes them both to keep us from knowing what will happen next” (CEV). Now, I don’t think God brings bad times on anyone, but that’s not to say He doesn’t allow them to happen. After all, the Bible tells us to learn to rejoice in our suffering because those are the things that help us grow stronger while deepening our faith.

And therein lies the rub. God doesn’t want you to know the future lest you try to take matters in your own hands. He wants you to live in faithful trust that He is in charge. Even the things that happen which feel awful in the moment can in time be used to glorify God.

What are the things you’re reflecting on this New Year’s Eve? What are the moments that brought you cheers and tears 2021? What did you learn from them? How will they help you start 2022 and navigate all it brings? It is my prayer that we approach the New Year with a sense of faith and trust. We have no idea what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future. May that be the assurance that helps us ring in 2022 as we face the future unafraid.

The background is from a photo I took of a sunset in Florida the day before Thanksgiving, 2021. ~ MSJ