A few weeks ago I posed this question on Facebook, “Do you ever step back and think, ‘This is not the future I envisioned for my life?'” Interestingly the answers were about 50% better than the future they thought they’d be living. Those who thought their future was not worse than they’d be living was also about 50%. Some wrote with great joy their futures were much better than they had imagined. Here are a few of those responses that were positive.
“Yes! But it’s even better since I became a believer than I could have ever imagined! I call it the great adventure!” Gary
“It is far greater than I ever anticipated ❤️ Eph. 3: 20 Now unto him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us!” Beulah
“I had no idea how great Father’s Grace in Christ was! I missed it with my bride for most of our adult years (Heb12:15a). I am the chief of sinners, and unworthy to know Christ as my Life. I thought that all my years would surely be tarnished with a continuing flow of struggle and failure. To be walking in and by Grace, on the same page with my beloved, is a miracle. We didn’t know that we didn’t know. We didn’t know what we didn’t know. Every day we praise Abba for renewing our minds and causing us to understand Christ in us as our Life.” Dan
These are some of the ones where their future turned out worse than they had hoped.
“Yes.” “Many times.” “Often.” Though they didn’t elaborate, I know some of those stories which is why I’m not using their names. One had experienced the horror of the murder of a grandchild. Another had felt the terrible grief of the suicide of an adult child. One other felt guilty because they had made a regretful mistake.
I think what jumped out at me was that each person was at a different place in their journey of trusting God with where they were. Of course, with most of the positive ones, their trust was soaring and with those we rejoice. But for the ones who shared about negative futures, we weep with them as some were still feeling sad while trusting God. Others were feeling regret while trusting God.
As for me, I suppose I’m a mixture of both. For example, I couldn’t have imagined God would multiply the ministry he started through me in 1995 by giving me such an amazing staff who are ministering His love, grace and truth to so many each week! On the flip side, I thought Ellen and I would be empty nesters like most of our friends. But once Bekah got sick, that future changed. She will be with us the remainder of her life and can never even attend church worship again.
Do you know what all this is ultimately about? It’s about whether we believe God loves us, is good, is sovereign and is wise. Here’s a great Scripture that brings not only great comfort but reminds us that we can trust God regardless of where we are. Psalm 139:16 describes how God was meticulously involved in weaving our body together and in creating even our personality. Yet, it also tells us about the days of our lives (not the soap opera!). All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
There are two ways we can interpret this. One is that God planned how many days each of us would live. A second interpretation, that adds more detail to the first is that He planned what would happen in each of those days. This is so His purposes could be fulfilled for His glory. That being true means the future we are currently living is the one He had planned for us. In other words, we are right where we’re supposed to be today.
This doesn’t mean everything has gone great, that there hasn’t been pain, that others haven’t sinned against us, that we haven’t made mistakes or sinned. It also doesn’t absolve us or others from responsibility. It simply means that regardless of what has happened, we are somehow, right where we are supposed to be. This is the promise of Romans 8:28. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. Our Father is so amazing, He’s infinitely capable and wise enough to take all that has happened to us and work it for our good. But it doesn’t stop there because 29a goes on to say, For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son. The good for us is mainly to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ which gives God glory. We’ll never fully understand this or be able to explain it because how can you explain the plans of an infinitely wise God?
Do you know God in such a way you believe He loves you, is good, sovereign, and wise? Even if you don’t know those realities, make a choice to trust God with where you are today, with whatever future you are experiencing. And yes, it is a daily choice to trust Him for this. It certainly is for me and I watch this being played out over and over in our staff as they do the same. And, if Our Jesus permits us in His plan to change things for the better, go for it!
Live Free in Christ!
Mark Maulding, President and Founder