Dr. James C. Denison
President, Center for Informed Faith, Dallas, TX
June 1, 2011
The Titanic was launched from her Belfast, Ireland shipyard 100 years ago yesterday. Today’s Time website quotes one Belfast newspaper’s report on the event: “If the circumstances under which the launch took place can be accepted as an augury of the future, the Titanic should be a huge success.”
Speaking of fallacious predictions, Harold Camping, the California radio preacher who predicted the Rapture for May 21, now tells us that he was off by five months and that the world will destroyed on October 21. May 21 turns out to have been a “spiritual” Judgment Day which placed the entire world under Jesus’ judgment. Since the final destruction of the planet is now certain, there’s no point in warning people about it, Camping says.
Meanwhile, nearly 1,000 tornadoes have killed more than 500 people and inflicted $9 billion in damages in America’s heartland this year. Newsweek reports that April was the wettest in 116 years for the Midwest, while Texas suffered the driest month in a century. The 2010 heat wave in Russia killed an estimated 15,000 people. Floods in Pakistan and Australia killed 2,000. And 2010 was the hottest year on our planet since weather records began.
What about tomorrow most worries you today? How do we prepare for a future we cannot predict?
First, we admit what we don’t know. The Chinese have a saying: “To predict is difficult, especially with regard to the future.” The belief that we can control outcomes is a delusion. How much is your life the way you envisioned it five years ago?
Second, we focus on the present. A psychologist once estimated that 90% of his patients were dealing with problems which resulted from guilt over the past or fear about the future. Track your thoughts for the next hour. You may be surprised at how much time you spend thinking about yesterday or tomorrow, both of which are illusions. How much does “yesterday” weigh? What color is “tomorrow”?
Third, we trust the future to our Father. Even God cannot help us with what does not exist. If I insist on worrying over the past and the future, I’m on my own. But if I ask God for his leadership and strength for this Wednesday morning, they are mine.
What are your fears for the future? How does faith help you face them with hope? Please share your insights with the rest of us. And know that your Father will tell you what you need to know, when you need to know it: “The former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you” (Isaiah 42:9). Why is that promise good news for you today?