While most of us live in the present, some of us are fearful of the future and others of us are piled by the past. I’m thankful that God is an ever-present help in trouble today, and I’m also glad that He has the future covered. I recently read an article called, “The God of My Future Problems.” The author begins by defining God’s “prevenient grace.” This literally means the grace that goes before. In every situation of life God is already at work before I get there. He is working creatively, strategically and redemptively for my good and His glory in order to accomplish His purposes.
While I am struggling with the problems of today, God is at work providing solutions for the things I’m going to face tomorrow. He’s working in situations right now that I haven’t even faced yet. He’s preparing them for me and me for them. Or to say it another way: “While I’m living in Saturday, He’s already in Monday.” Are you worried about next week? Chill out. He’s already there. How about next year? Don’t sweat it. He’s got it covered. Since God is already in the future, you can trust Him today and put your hope in Him for tomorrow, even if trials come your way (and they will).
It would be enough if God simply walked with you through the events of life. But He does much more than that. He goes ahead of you, clearing the way, arranging the details of life, so that when you get there, you can have confidence that God has already been there before you. Knowing that God holds the future in His hands provides me with comfort today. I’m also thankful that God forgives the failures of my past. This helps me to live free from the shadow of shame and the crippling grief of guilt.
As our church, along with over four thousand other churches, participates in an amazing journey called, “40 Days of Purpose,” I’ve been struck by something I’ve read in Rick Warren’s best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life. No matter what has happened in my past, or what will happen in the future, I can participate in God’s purposes today if I remember three things: life is a test, a trust, and a temporary assignment.
First, since my character is developed and revealed by times of testings, even the smallest incident has significance in developing my relationship with God. James 5:11 promises blessing for those who persevere. Second, knowing that life is a trust reminds me that I must take care of what God has given me. Jesus put it this way: “From the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” (Luke 12:48). Third, understanding that life is a temporary assignment challenges me to live in light of eternity. That was the prayer of the psalmist in Psalm 39:4: “Show me, O Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life.”
Friend, the only way to be filled with any hope for your future, the only way to experience forgiveness for your past, and the only way to have purpose in the present, is to place your faith in the one who died to make it all happen. It’s as simple as believing and receiving. Are you ready to believe that Jesus paid the price for your sins? If so, then receive Him as your Savior and Lord right now (John 1:12). When you do, you will be freed from the past, you will have purpose in the present, and you’ll be filled with hope for the future.