How to Predict the Future

A few years back, our oldest son was learning magic. We bought kits and trick books and studied the “art of illusion”. He was pretty good at it too. As he was mastering his tricks, we would watch the professionals on YouTube and predicted this or that, or marvel at how good their distraction was as they turned their tricks and slight of hand into entertaining shows. Sometimes we knew how the trick was done, other times we were awestruck along with the audience. The fun was in the allure of the unknown.

Recently, I have been praying along with others, for things unknown. Two friends asked me to pray for upcoming medical appointments. Tests and procedures where the outcomes could be life changing. I pray. But these are the kinds of unknowns that are not so entertaining. These are the kinds of unknowns where we wish we knew the tricks. Where we wish we knew what the future will hold and how the situation will all play out. Will it be good news? News we can handle, and process, and eventually plan for? Or will it be the kind of news that leaves us questioning: “What do we do now?”

Just because we are Jesus followers, doesn’t mean our lives will be easy. We face the same bumps in the road as everyone else does on this journey. We live in a fallen world with unpredictable futures. But. (And I like big butts, I cannot lie…pause for musical interlude to break the tension…) But. We serve a powerful God who does know the future!! How comforting is that?!

My personal readings have led me to the book of Daniel recently. The story begins with one of those life changing situations. King Nebuchadnezzar had trouble sleeping and was bothered by his dreams. None of his wise men could interpret them, and therefore ease his anxiety… so he issues a decree to kill them all off. (Nice, eh?) However, Daniel, through God’s mercy, is able to interpret the dream, and thus save his companions from their untimely deaths:

19 During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven 20 and said:
“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
    wisdom and power are his.
21 He changes times and seasons;
    he deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise
    and knowledge to the discerning.
22 He reveals deep and hidden things;
    he knows what lies in darkness,
    and light dwells with him.
23 I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors:
    You have given me wisdom and power,
you have made known to me what we asked of you,
    you have made known to us the dream of the king.”

Daniel 2: 19-23 (NIV)

Isn’t that so encouraging?! God knows the future! We simpletons cannot predict how things are going to play out. And so we pray, along with our friends, to help guide us in the paths unknown. To face those unpredictable turns and trials and twists in the journey. My beloveds, if you are facing one of those life changing moments right now, may you be restored in the knowledge that there is One who knows. There is One who loves you so much, that He wants the best for you. He will make it work out according to His plan for you… and we will (eventually) delight in how the mystery is revealed!

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