Devotional: June 23, 2020
“So, if they say, ‘Run to the country and see him arrive!’ or, ‘Quick, get downtown, see him come!’ don’t give them the time of day. The Arrival of the Son of Man isn’t something you go to see. He comes like swift lightning to you!”
“But the exact day and hour? No one knows that, not even heaven’s angels, not even the Son. Only the Father knows.”
Matthew 24: 26, 36 The Message
It seems that we human beings have a hard time not being in control and knowing the future. We would like to know exactly when and how everything will transpire. Maybe that is why some are fascinated with the weather forecast: they want to plan out their lives in the future with certainty, allowing them the sense of being in control of at least something that is to come.
Listen to this teaching from Jesus. He knows human nature, and our thirst to predict the future. Jesus addresses the tendency of some people to predict the future with absolute certainty. He assures them that only God knows the specifics of the future.
As a pastor, some people ask me if I know what the future holds. It is human nature for us to want to know what is going to happen, yet I cannot predict the future. I myself have many of the same questions, but I do not have a big red phone in my office. However, we all have a direct line, and that is prayer.
On the question of the exact date and time of His return, even Jesus says “only the Father knows…” Jesus surprises us by saying that even the angels do not know. Then He goes one step farther. He admits that while living upon this earth, even He himself does not know the exact time! Wow!
Why is this important? It seems like right now, humility is in short supply. Many seem convinced they know exactly the best and only way to combat the virus, to deal with our racial tensions, and the correct timing on when and how to re-open our economy. This does not mean that we should not strive towards these solutions, but no one person on earth has the perfect answer to each of these problems.
The truth is that only God knows for sure, on any of these topics, and a thousand more. My prayer, then, is that people on various sides of issues would stop demonizing one another. The truth is that we don’t know the future. Some are offering their best guesses, and their guesses may be more educated than others, but absolute certainty eludes everyone.
Perhaps that is just how God designed the world: with enough uncertainty so that faith would be necessary, and humility, too. As the old saying goes, “We don’t know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future: God the Father.” If that answer was good enough for Jesus, it is good enough for me!
God our rock,
We cling to you, amid the uncertain and troubling waters and times in which we live. Help us to resist the siren call of those who over-promise what only You can know: the exact future. Instead, help us to be wise. May we always be ready for Your son’s return: constant in our faith, faithful in our prayers, and unconditional in our love. We pray this prayer in Jesus’ name.