Comfort & Counsel

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by Jacob Ninan

One great interest of curiosity is to know what the future holds for us. This is the driving force behind the popularity of soothsayers and diviners of different kinds. Even Christians can be seen consulting horoscopes or birth ‘signs’ for marriage and auspicious days for important functions. Many consult ‘what the stars foretell’, just for fun, they say. Our God has revealed to us in His word some details of the general future for mankind and this earth. But He has chosen not to reveal to us our individual ‘fortunes’ on this earth. In fact, He has specifically prohibited any of His people going after such knowledge following the example of other people around them (Deut.18:14,15). The reason why He has done this is that He wants us to trust Him and leave our future in His hands.

This turns out to be a great test of our faith in different situations. How convenient it would be if we could ‘see’ the future and know everything before we make any decision! But it is when we do not know the future but we are willing to rest on the fact that our Father is the one who holds the future—walk by faith and not by sight—that we are able to be at rest.

An outstanding example of this kind of faith is what we see in Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. When Kind Nebuchadnezzar threatened to throw them into the fiery furnace unless they bowed down before his idol, they had no idea how things would turn out for them. They had faith that God was able to save them from the fire, but they did not know whether God would actually do that on that occasion. They took a bold decision to leave that matter to God and to do what they had to do. That was their faith and confidence in God. If we know the true and living God at all, we know that He can do anything. Just believing that He can do anything or that He is able to do something particularly for us is not enough for us to be able to hold on to Him in faith in life’s situations, because we still do not know what He will do. We must also be able to find rest by faith, knowing that our Father knows what is best for us, and leave the matter to Him.

In the case of the three Hebrews, God intervened and delivered them miraculously from the fire, demonstrating what He can do. He does similar things even now for many people who trust Him. But everyone will agree that not all get healed from their sicknesses or delivered from their problems. We do not understand why God delivered Peter from the prison miraculously but allowed James to be killed in the same prison. We can neither understand everything that is happening to us nor can we speculate on why others are going through difficulties. Is it not better to humbly recognise that we do not always immediately understand what God is doing than to quickly judge people saying they do not enough faith, they have some secret sin in their life or that they have not prayed properly?

We who were dead in sin and dead towards God have been made dead to sin and alive unto God. This is the work of grace in which we rejoice greatly. Jesus has bridged the great chasm that was between us and God, and now we have free access into the Most Holy Place through the blood of Jesus. We also enjoy a relationship with God as children with their Father. When we have Him we have in Him everything we need. Is this not what David understood when he said that as long as he had the Lord as his Shepherd he had no lack of anything else (Psa.23:1)? We know His love towards that did not spare even His only Son for our sake, we know His wisdom that knows exactly what we need at any time, and we know His almighty power that enables Him to do whatever He pleases. When we know Him in this way we can dare to leave our future in His hands and find security there.

In any case that is all we can do most of the time because we do not know the future and we do not have the wisdom or power to deal with all our situations by ourselves. Even as we enter into a new year and do not know all that it holds for us, our strength is in knowing that God is with us (Matt.28:20). He is never going to leave or forsake us, especially when we go through difficult situations, and He who knows the future will guide us as we lean on Him with trust. The closer we are with Him, the stronger will be our trust in Him, and that is what will ultimately decide how we will be able to face and go through challenging situations that will come to us.

If we live on this earth as strangers who are just passing through for a short time (Heb.11:13;1Pet.2:11), our eyes will be looking forward to the life that God is preparing for us in heaven. While we deal with the challenges of today, we can let our thoughts dwell on what these challenges would mean in eternity (2Cor.4:17). We can take comfort from the fact that God will turn around even the evil we face here to make us more like Jesus (Rom.8:28,29), which is what will count in eternity.

-- Editorial in the Light of Life magazine, January 2015

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