You Can’t Control the Future!

 Did you know that you or I can’t control the future.  It’s not possible.  There are times in our lives when we have the appearance of control, but at any given moment that can change.  Each day there are things that happen that are actually beyond our control.  It’s hard for us to accept sometimes, because we like to think that we are in control.  But how many of us have lost sleep because of something that consumed our thoughts about the next day?  How many of us have attempted to manipulate a situation in an attempt to control the future outcome?  How many of us are stuck in the past because we’re afraid to move to the future?  I know a few years back I worked in a company that I had been at for many years.  I had worked my way up from the lowest position they had to the point of helping run the company and being a decision maker in the company.  Because I had been there for a while, I had established a certain amount of comfort throughout each day.  I knew the job.  I was also secure in my job and could see it being a long-term career.  It was safe because I knew the people I worked with, I was earning a paycheck and found some satisfaction in what I was doing.  The only problem was, I also knew that this wasn’t what God wanted me to do long-term in my life.  But I was secure, comfortable and safe.  All of these things working together make it hard to move into the unknown.  That’s what all of our futures are … UNKNOWN.  We’re not sure what will happen tomorrow.  We’re not sure what the next phone call will be about or what will happen at the next stop light.  But God knows it all.  We spend a lot of our time worrying about many things.  A majority of those things never come to pass.

Proverbs 16:9 tells us, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” Later in Proverbs 19:21 we read, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”  This lets us know really who we should look to in our lives for our next steps and purpose in our lives.  The Lord has a better plan than we could even begin to imagine.

In Matthew 6:25-34  we read, 25“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?  28“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

If you’re like me, you spend a lot of time consumed with either what has happened or what will happen, but not much time thinking about what IS HAPPENING.  The truth is that we’re too busy trying to control our future that we miss today.  The worry of damage control or preparation for tomorrow immobilizes us in the present.

I want to explore  why we’re consumed by the future.  I see 5 areas in this passage that we can explore to help us learn to live more in the present.

  1. We’re afraid we won’t succeed. (25)  We look at what as going on around us and measure our success by what we have and how well things are going.  We’re afraid that if we don’t get everything just right then somehow the world will come crashing down around us.  Somewhere along the line, we learned that failure is a bad thing in our lives.  And, although it is difficult to go through a season of failure, it is one of the best opportunities we have in life to learn more about ourselves and our God.
  2. We don’t realize our value. (v 26)  God loves us more than words can express.  That’s why He sent His son into the world to live and die for us and to live again.  We are valuable not because of what we do, but because of who we are in Him.  We need to realize that God doesn’t measure our worth based on whether or not we can hold the world together, He already has that coverd.  He loved us before we were loveable and desires a personal relationship with each one of us.
  3. We live by sight not by faith. (v 25-27)  We are conditioned to look at the physical things of this world as a guide for how well things are going.  We have learned to trust in what we can see around us because it’s harder to trust in what we cannot see.  To live by faith, we actually have to let go and let God take control.  We have to admit that we don’t have all the answers and can’t predict everything that will take place.  Faith is living in such a way that often goes against what the world will tell you to do.  It’s trusting God even when the finances don’t balance, or the move doesn’t make since, or you don’t know where the next meal for your kids is going to come from.  Faith is expressed in the details of life.
  4. We don’t pursue God. (v 33)  We work hard at pursuing our careers, our families, our hobbies and other relationships.  Often in the course of life, we fail to pursue God.  We assume He will be in our plans and will bless our efforts.  We assume that we are going in the right direction.  Our assumptions often take us away from God as we pursue the world’s view of success, security, value and happiness.  But the verse here tells us to seek God first above all things.  He should be our number one pursuit.  When we put that relationship first above everything else … everything else seems to fall in place.  It’s awesome the way God works.
  5. We forget His promises. (v 33)  He tells us if we seek Him first and He’ll take care of everything else.  Does that mean steak for dinner every night?  No.  Does that mean namebrand clothes in a packed closet? No.  It does mean that He will direct our paths and guide us through each day as we seek to glorify Him.  Let’s not forget that He promised that we’re not in this life alone.  He is there and waiting to be an active part of our lives.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”  Let’s do what we can to just take it one day at a time and let God handle all of the tomorrows that come our way.  We have enough going on in each day to consume our thoughts and actions without bringing in everything from the tomorrows that may not ever come as we think.  As we live each of our days for the value they bring, let’s seek to give Him the glory He deserves.  He is the one who is in control of all things and we get to experience the journey with Him.


About John Herring

I've been in ministry for almost 20 years. In that time, I have had the opportunity to serve in a variety of roles including, Student and Children's Pastor, Worship and Media Pastor, Education/Small Groups Pastor, Associate Pastor, Church Administrator, Missions Pastor and 'other duties as assigned' Pastor. Many of these have been within the same church and I have had the opportunity to see a variety of changes and transitions in ministry over the past 20 years. I enjoy coaching, consulting, mentoring and investing in leaders to see them become who it is God created them to be. As I do all of these, I am also in transition from where God had me to where He is taking me and enjoying learning more about Him in the journey. I am blessed to have been married to a beautiful godly woman, Alisha, for 11 years and have 2 amazing kids. I continue to learn more about them, myself and God every day. View all posts by John Herring

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