All throughout the Bible, God speaks about the future. In the Book of Isaiah, God speaks about Jesus in chapters 52 and 53. In the book of Revelation, the Bible speaks about how Jesus will come back and how the enemy will forever be destroyed. The future is where most of our eyes seek, but sometimes seeking the future leads us astray.
Our seeking for the future can lead us to be lost in a sea of mysteries. Our seeking anything other than God is a storm that we shouldn't want to walk into. For this reason, let us trust God to reveal His plan to us as He wills and let the future be completely in God’s hands.
The Bitterness of Our Hearts
Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord (Jonah 1:1-3).
Jonah was fleeing from what God had commanded Him to do. He was so engulfed with bitterness and anger from how Nineveh treated the Israelites (Nahum and Jonah 3). In Jonah 4, Jonah knew God would be merciful and full of unfailing love towards Nineveh’s repentance. So, how did Jonah know that God would react this way?
If Jonah, a servant and child of God, was seeking and pursuing God in such a way that God revealed His nature to Jonah, no one can be sure how God reveals to us His plans and His characteristics, it is truly a mystery. It’s a good mystery to seek because God wants us to seek Him.
And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you (Psalm 9:10).
As we continue to read through Jonah chapter 4:5-7, we see that God sets a physical example of why God did not destroy Nineveh at that time:
Jonah left the city and sat down east of it. He made himself a shelter there and sat in its shade to see what would happen to the city. Then the Lord God appointed a plant, and it grew up to provide shade over Jonah’s head to ease his discomfort. Jonah was greatly pleased with the plant. When dawn came the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, and it withered.
Jonah was angry and full of so much bitterness that he wanted to perish. Maybe he was so mad because his people in northern Israel were destroyed and God saved the people that destroyed that part of Israel. But God explains later that Jonah has no right to be angry at Him for saving Nineveh.
God knew and had compassion on Nineveh because He created them and cared for them (Jonah 4:10). So, maybe, God does let us know some of the details of His future plans, and He only reveals what He wants us to know. If we knew everything like God, how could we handle the vastness of this knowledge?
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
Our Suffering and Our Future
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Romans 8:18).
It was my last year in my undergraduate career and I was extremely stressed. I do not think I have ever been through that much pressure before at that time. I was taking more credit hours than I could handle, and a class that I absolutely wished I had never taken. I know I am not the only college student who experienced this.
But I remember sitting down on the carpet of my room, seeking and praying to God. This was an odd experience because I never thought what God was warning me about could happen. I felt in my spirit that I was going to get sick. I remember saying to God that I would be so angry at Him if He let this happen.
Well, that winter I became sick — for almost three months straight. My stress became my enemy and my future never looked so bleak. My suffering became my future and seemed to determine my life ahead. But I fought through it with God and learned that although this had happened to me, it wasn’t what defined me nor my future. It is God who determines my future always.
The Bible says in Romans 8:25, that we “eagerly hope and wait with perseverance.” We wait and persevere for God to redeem us in the hope for our heavenly bodies (Romans 8:23). Our future can be full of joy and full of difficulty (2 Timothy 3:1).
Our future is full of hope because our hope is in Christ alone. Therefore, let us not carry the bitterness of the past in our hearts and let that part of our lives determine our future. Let us give all of our stresses over to God who so lovingly will take it from us.
A Closing Prayer
Father, I thank you for all that you have done in our lives, and what you will do in our future. I pray that we seek you first Father God and keep our ears listening to your voice. I pray that all who are worried about their future will give it all to you God. God, you know our future and the plans that are for us all. I pray that we all trust you completely to carry out our lives in your hands. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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Rebecca Mashburn (Gordon) has a wonderful husband named Joseph. She has a blog, Trust. Lean, Seek and is working on becoming what God is calling her to. She has a bachelor's in psychology and hopes to one day pursue a degree in biblical counseling. Rebecca loves to be in nature, especially in springtime, and she loves to travel. She has a loving family and hopes one day to have children of her own.