Past and Present, but Future too?


With one wrong step, Anne fell on a wet patch on the floor. Her life was forever changed even after her shattered kneecap healed well enough for her walk again.

Just days after their eight-year-old daughter became ill, Tina and Rob’s only child died over the Christmas holidays.

Greg was in shock. Parkinson’s disease? In that moment, his life changed forever as his body betrayed him and his wife was obligated to enter the work force.

Nine years ago, my life changed forever on December 21 when we learned our son died halfway around the world—by suicide.

In the days and weeks leading up to these sudden, life-changing events (the above are all real people, names changed), we hadn't expected or prepared for the loss. It was sudden. It was devastating.

When we think about entering a new year, can we, like the Proverbs 31 woman (verse 25), “smile at the future,” knowing at any moment we could be crushed with great loss?

Recently, our pastor asked the congregation to read the Gospel of John, noting ways Jesus is amazing. One of the things I noticed in my reading was in relation to His knowledge of the future.

Jesus knew the future while He lived on the earth. Several times He shared His knowledge as a means of encouraging others in their faith walk.

Have you wished you could know the future or considered what it would be like?

There are obvious advantages. You would know if you needed collision coverage on your car, what stocks to invest in, and what summer days the weather would be suitable for the outdoor activities you planned.

But the weight, the burden, of knowing the losses, the setbacks, the difficulties!

Since his death, I have often dreamed about our son. Usually, I know he will take his life and I try to stop him.

Can you image a lifetime spent trying to change the unchangeable, to bear the pain even before the loss? The knowledge of the past and present are enough of a burden for us. But the future too? The strain would be mammoth and one for which we are not equipped.

What does this mean for the new year? Have you made plans or set goals for 2020? Great! Do we know what 2020 holds? Are we destined to live in fear?

A quick read of Proverbs 31:10-31 gives us clues to this woman’s confident outlook. To see how she can smile at the future. She prepares. She does what she can to keep her family safe and to assist others. But I suspect she knows her efforts are limited. At the end of the day, she trusts the Lord and lets Him carry her burdens.

Here is what I think she may say to us as we enter a new year regarding the uncertainties we face:

“Trust your future with the One who holds the future.”

As we enter 2020, in what areas are you trusting the Lord for the coming year?

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