In Matthew 6:34 Jesus said, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
These days it’s hard for us NOT to worry about the future. You and I are both heading into uncharted waters and we don’t know what to expect.
When the apostle Paul was imprisoned in Jerusalem for proclaiming the gospel, he was no doubt discouraged. Maybe he was wondering if he would ever be released or if he would ever get to minister again.
Then Jesus came to him with these words: "Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome" (Acts 23:11). Paul could take comfort in that there was still future ministry for him in Rome. God still had a purpose for him just as He does for us.
Now we might not hear from Jesus audibly, but He still speaks through the Bible. One of my favorite verses about God's future for each of us is found in the book of Lamentations. The prophet Jeremiah voiced his reasons for hope.
“This I call to mind and therefore I have hope: because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:21-23)
It’s worth noting that those words were given to Israel when Jerusalem and the Temple had been destroyed by the Babylonians. It seemed as if God’s patience with His people had run out and that judgment was near. What would the future hold? The Lord was saying to them (and us too), "Don’t worry about tomorrow, or the next day. I haven’t forgotten you. My mercies are new every morning. I am faithful.”
No matter what we face as individuals and as a church, God will work it out. He will tie up the loose ends and bring us to His desired result. Don't feel that anything’s over just because we’re not where we want to be yet. We see only the beginning. God sees "the expected end" and it’s good! God still had a future for Paul, and for Israel, and for you and me as well. We must never forget that.
John Piper wrote these encouraging words about the situation in which we find ourselves. “Darkness comes. In the middle of it, the future looks blank. The temptation to quit is huge. Don't. You are in good company... You will argue with yourself that there is no way forward. But with God, nothing is impossible. He has more ropes and ladders and tunnels out of pits than you can conceive. Wait. Pray without ceasing. Hope.”
The future only looks bleak when we take our eyes off of the Alpha & Omega, the One who knows the beginning and the end. He’s already seen how Pat and I will be ministering in the future. He will lead us there in His time. He already knows who Community Church’s next pastor is and in His appropriate time that will become clear. His mercies are new every morning. Therefore we wait, we pray without ceasing, and we continue to hope in our faithful God. That certainly beats worrying.