Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

What will the future bring?


"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes." (Matthew 6:34, The Message Bible)

By Bishop Robert Hayes Jr.

Ready or not, 2011 is here! Like an unwelcome visitor, we got kicked out of last year, and we’ve landed in the new year a bit dazed. Why couldn’t we stay a little longer where we were?

Be honest. How long before you stop putting 2010 on checks and other documents that require the full date? Will you be adjusted by February? March? Few people ever are prepared for this yearly calendar ritual, although we know that it’s coming. And vast numbers of people constantly strive to learn in advance what the future holds.

I’m fascinated by our obsession with seeking and searching for answers about what lies ahead. The American public spends billions—that’s with a B—on horoscopes, tarot cards, psychics, fortune-tellers, and a host of other so-called "mediums" to tell us what no one really can predict.

This need to know what the future holds is not new. In fact, it’s biblical. The Old Testament is filled with prophecies, and the New Testament concludes with Revelations, visions of things to come. Between the Bible’s cover pages, questions abound concerning imminent events. Even the disciples revealed their angst regarding the future; they asked Jesus about times to come (Acts 1:6).

To help you in this mad dash into the unpredictable, often frightening future, I want to arm you with wisdom for the journey. Some of it is gleaned from lessons taught by the greatest teacher who ever lived—Jesus! And some comes from the "travel stains" accumulated over my 42 years in ministry.

  • The first and most important rule is laid out in Matthew 6. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus reminds you to live one day at a time. Yes, you’ve heard that advice before, but few people practice it. Do you constantly carry the weight of yesterday? That robs tomorrow of its possibilities, thus making each day an exercise in meaningless, pointless living.

Jesus says to you, "Don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow." He reminds you that "God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up."

  • Secondly, I urge, be prepared for whatever life throws at you! We live in a world where anything can happen at any moment.

God has equipped us with marvelous resources to meet head-on any circumstance or obstacle. Your attitude, your faith, your courage, and your confidence that God will see you through anything will go a long way in preparing you for the unseen turns in the road.

From my life’s experiences, I know this firsthand. Strength will be supplied. (Or, as one minister told me, "Manna falls.") In other words, bread for the day is given, and strength is furnished when you keep your life opened and focused on God.

  • Lastly, I invite you to look for the good, and hope for the best! If you seek the good from every situation, then good ultimately will come. Life is too short to dwell on the negative and unpleasant.

Go into this year looking for the best and the brightest, seeking to do and be the person God wants you to be. Then every day will be an adventure in learning and growing. Just around the corner, you may find a chance to show uncommon kindness to someone. You may be entrusted with pain that you can turn into spiritual gain. You may be thrust into a crisis through which you demonstrate how a person of spiritual conviction can become victor over the worst that life can offer.

Yes, there is uncertainty as we enter 2011. But I know for sure that, ahead of me, God is already there! A modern translation of Psalm 59:10 declares: "My God, in His loving-kindness, shall meet me at every corner."

You can face the successive demands of every day without fear or flinching. Our Lord never promises any follower that being a disciple will be easy. He does promise that in him and with him we will be more than conquerors over any foe or adverse condition.

Some 450 years ago, mapmakers wrote fearful warnings on charts of the eastern coastline of North America. Across unknown areas, the superstitious mapmakers wrote inscriptions such as "Here be demons! Here be dragons. Here be fiery scorpions."

Those maps later came into the possession of Sir John Franklin, a British explorer. It is reported that when Franklin saw those notations printed on the maps, he scratched them out, one by one, and wrote in large letters over the entire map: "Here be God!"

Along the uncharted roads and byways of 2011, you will find God already is waiting for you to arrive!


Making Disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World

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