Secrets of Facing the Unknown Future
“Secrets of Facing the Unknown Future”
A popular song comes to mind as I contemplate sending this New Year Message. It is the song by Birdie Bell (1901). I cannot resist giving you its first stanza and the refrain (chorus).
1. Bowed beneath your burden, is there none to share?
Weary with the journey, is there none to care?
Courage, way-worn traveler, heed your Lord’s commands,
There’s a thought to cheer you, Jesus understands.
Yes, He understands, all His ways are best.
Hear, He calls to you, Come to Me and rest.
Leave the unknown future in the Master’s hand,
Whether sad or joyful, Jesus understands.
The last two lines of the refrain are relevant to our discussion:
“Leave the unknown future in the Master’s hand, Whether sad or joyful, Jesus understands.”
I find some secrets of facing the unknown future in a portion of Moses’ last words to Israel in (Deut. 3:21, 22): “21And I commanded Joshua at that time, saying, 'Your eyes have seen all that the LORD your God has done to these two kings; so will the LORD do to all the kingdoms through which you pass. 22You must not fear them, for the LORD your God Himself fights for you.”
First Secret: Knowledge of what God has done (v.21a)
Moses wanted Joshua to recall what God did to the two kings, Sihon, the Amorite king and Og, king of Bashan on the East side of River Jordan. Knowledge of what God had done in the past prepares us to face the unknown future. When David was to fight Goliath, he had to fall back on what God had done for him in the past when he killed a lion and a bear (1 Samuel 17:34). Even past painful experiences can serve us well in the future, for such experience could be a good teacher that equips us for the future. No wonder it is said that “wisdom is mistake turned inside-out.” But if we fail to use such painful experiences profitably, we forfeit wisdom to foolishness.
Second Secret: Knowledge of what God has promised to do (v.21b)
God promised Israel that He would do to all the kingdoms or territories they were yet to pass through what He did to the kingdoms of Sihon and Og. The promises of God are a veritable tool for facing the unknown future because God speaks from His vantage point of having the future under His firm control. He and He alone, sees the future as though it were the present. And one beautiful thing about the promises of God is their certainty, premised on His omnipotence. No circumstance is beyond His control to thwart His purposes!
Third Secret: Resistance to fear (v.22a)
God knows that fear is the key obstacle to facing the unknown future. There is an aspect of fear that is necessary to keep us alive, though. This in-built fear can be compromised with the help of mind-altering substances such as alcohol or harder drugs. When this happens, people put their lives in jeopardy unnecessarily. But the fear God wants us to resist is that which demoralizes and demobilizes us and keeps us from acting promptly and properly to reach our goals in life. The goal of Israel was to possess the Land God had promised them and fear of their enemies could prevent them from reaching their goal, hence the command not to fear their enemies. Do not permit fear of what the coming year would bring rob you of your big dreams.
Fourth Secret: Dependence on God’s ability to give us victory (v. 22b)
Moses assured Israel that God Himself would fight for them. It should not be a difficult thing to depend on the One who has never lost a battle, and never will. Dependence on God is not only an important prerequisite for facing the unknown future; it is a prerequisite for success in life. Jesus makes it clear that we cannot do anything without Him, that is, without depending on Him (John 15:5). And prayer is the expression of dependence. Your prayer life is a measure of your dependence on God. Tell God to pour upon you the spirit of supplication in the New Year. When He does, the fear that stops others will not and cannot stop you!
Joshua Uhiara (Ph.D.)
President (The Master’s Vessel Ministry)