West Chelmsford United Methodist Church
Tuesday, January 23, 2018

“If only we could know the future….” If there is one sentiment that people in all times and places have expressed, it is this one. And as the calendar turns to January and we begin another year, the thought surfaces in many of us: what does the future hold? From the earliest times people have sought to know what was going to happen in the future. Various cultures at various times have turned to seers, soothsayers, magicians, shamans, crystal balls, tea leaves and the reading of entrails (don’t ask; you don’t want to know. Hint: it has to do with telling the future by inspecting the inner organs of slaughtered animals. See? You didn’t want to know that, did you?). Today you and I can consult tarot cards or a palm reader; or we can look online for a psychic reading. Because people, even today, still want to know the future.

            What will 2018 bring? You wonder because you believe that if you can just know what is coming, you can be prepared. If you know you are going to resolve that family dispute in the next few months, then you don’t have to lose sleep worrying about it now. If you know your high school senior is going to get into that university to which he or she has applied, then you can begin now figuring out how to pay for it all (oh well, back to losing sleep!).

            On a more serious note, we enter 2018 with some real concerns. The economy is still strong, but our national politics are more divided than ever. Tensions with North Korea, a nuclear nation, are higher than ever. This year we view the new year with more concern than usual.

            But our faith teaches us to live by faith, and to live day by day. That is so difficult! We want to know the future because we think knowledge will prepare us, even insulate us from the challenges of life. But our faith teaches us to trust not in our own knowledge and preparation, but in our God. God promises not an absence of challenges, but the strength to faces the challenges. No amount of knowledge or forewarning can provide that.

A favorite quote for me (I don’t know who said it) goes like this: I don’t know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future. We do know who holds the future, and the future is safe in the hands of our God.

Reverend Mack