Friday, January 4, 2013

The Blessings of the Unknown

“Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow.” James 4:14

         “I knew that was going to happen,” you may say. But God says, “No, you didn’t.” You may have made a calculated prediction because of past experience, but in the final analysis, no two scenarios are identical. We all like to be seen as wise, and for some reason, we tend to equate the perceived ability to predict the future with wisdom, which is not the case. Charles Spurgeon said, “He is wisest who does not seek to know what God has not revealed.” Moses said, “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing.” And one of the things He has chosen to conceal is our future. This is so much the case that James tells us in the chapter, before we make any dogmatic statements about what may or may not happen, we better add the qualifier, “If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that” (vv. 13-15). We would be smart to follow the truly wise man who said, “Boast not thyself of tomorrow” (Prov. 27:1).

Now, here is my premise: This is a good thing.

         There are at least three good reasons I say this, going from the least to the most significant. I must acknowledge that these were suggested to me by the writings of Scottish (what else!) preacher, George Morrison (1866-1928). First, to know the future, we would have to give up the element of surprise. How dreary life would be if we were robbed of the unexpected turn in the road or the first recognition of something or someone. This is why so many of us cherish the memories of childhood, and others suffer the pangs of a so-called “mid-life crisis.” When we’re children, everything is fresh and new to our senses, but through the years, and with repetition, we seem to lose the capacity to be surprised. And I, for one, would be hesitant to trade it for foreknowledge.

         Second, would you not admit that confronting the unknown makes one more alert and quicker to respond? If we know that we may at any time face either danger on the one hand, or opportunity on the other, it makes us less apt to doze through life; while knowing that it will be awhile before we encounter either would allow us the “luxury” of a lackadaisical lifestyle, days on end. Hardly a character building routine.

         Lastly, and most important, were we to gain the ability to see the future, we would lose our incentive to trust God and cling to Him in sweet assurance of His watchful eye. One of my favorite verses is Psalm 32:8. “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.” God’s “birds eye” view of my life and future is much superior to my own limited vision, so I would be a fool not to make sure our relationship is not just cordial, but close. As you know, He has promised, when we draw close to Him, He does the same thing to us (Jam. 4:8). We need not fear the future if we have instant access to Someone who does.

         Three good reasons, as far as I’m concerned, to consider my inability to see the future to be a blessing.  Would you agree? I’m reminded of the last verse of an old song I used to sing.

If we could see, if we could know, we often say,
But God in love a veil doth throw across the way.
We cannot see what lies before,
And so we cling to Him the more.
He leads us till this life is o'er;
Trust and obey.
                                         Norman Clayton

No comments:

Post a Comment