Back when I was in college, I used a color-coordinated calendar to schedule assignment deadlines and test days. These days, I approach my seminary studies in a similar way.
I’m a planner, through and through. I like things mapped out in advance. I like the feeling of being ahead of the game. I hate bumping up against deadlines.
That said, I have no interest in finding out my own future.
I’ve walked with Jesus long enough to know it’s a bad idea to try to figure out what’s coming down the pike.
If I were informed of the good things God has in store before they happen, I would try to analyze how these things could possibly be. I’d want to know too much about the particulars.
(Plus I would spoil his surprises.)
On the other hand, if I knew about coming hardships ahead of time, I would only worry and fret about how to get through them.
I would get anxious long before receiving the grace for that upcoming situation.
Whether it’s about desirable or undesirable circumstances, the temptation is to try to take control instead of letting God be God.
The Lord knows it’s not good for us to have too much information about the future.
That’s one reason he gave explicit instructions to his people not to consult with mediums or seek guidance outside of the direction that comes from knowing him (Leviticus 19:31).
(God certainly gives us insight for our lives by means of his written Word and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but the roadmap and blueprint belong to him alone.)
He knows our temptation and tendency to try to forecast and control.
Here’s the thing: our motive for wanting to control is lack of trust. The reason we want to figure out our futures is that, deep down, we don’t think God is going to get it right.
We don’t trust Jesus at the wheel.
Every time I mentally and emotionally launch into forecasting my day or week or year instead of simply staying in step with Jesus, I borrow trouble.
“You know that this day will bring difficulties,” says Sarah Young in Jesus Calling, “and you are trying to think your way through these trials… Rehearsing your troubles results in experiencing them many times, whereas you are meant to go through them only when they actually occur. Do not multiply your suffering in this way! Instead, come to Me, and relax in My peace.”
2020 was a rough year, and many have voiced a desire for 2021 to be better.
I get it. I don’t want another weird year, either—but I don’t have a burning desire to know the outcomes.
What if it is another difficult year? I don’t need to know.
What I do need to know is that God is completely worthy of my trust.
I need to remind myself that he works all things for the good of those who love him, and that nothing exists which can separate me from his love (Romans 8:28, 35-39).
Why would I sweat the details with promises as powerful as these?
A few years ago, I penned a song describing my fear, pain and confusion during a hard season. Perhaps you can relate to those feelings right now. As you read this concluding chorus, may you experience peace about your future:
All I really need to know is You are always faithful;
All I really need to know is that Your plan is good.
All I need to understand is the greatness of Your love;
All I really need to know is You.