We Don’t Know The Future

How should we approach a new year? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I remember going through 2019. I hated that year. It’s personal reasons so I won’t go into it, but when 2020 came I was relieved. I thought that surely this year had to be better than that worst year I had ever had.

It wasn’t.

That has nothing to do with Corona or political situations going on. Again, this is all personal stuff. If anything, for me, 2020 blew 2019 out of the water so much so that I would have loved a year like 2019 again. As I had people saying to me yesterday “Happy New Year” I thought, “That remains to be seen.”

Last night I also wasn’t in a good mood and again, there were other stressors going on. I didn’t ring in the new year the best way. I had a bottle of sparkling cider from Welch’s seeing as I don’t drink alcohol that I opened up. I remember just sitting on the recliner drinking it feeling low.

If the past two years were like this, what is 2021 going to be like?

However, I also try to remember talking to a friend of mine last year who had a situation in his relationship with his wife. I kept giving him one proposition we were going to hold to. “We don’t know the future.” It’s a simple one, but I kept coming back to it.

So he would tell me something about the situation and then say “And then she’s going to.”

“Stop! What’s our proposition?”

“We don’t know the future.”

“We don’t know the future.”

Today, things are working out just fine for them. Back at the time, it seemed like the whole world was coming down all around them. As it turns out, by toughing through it, matters got better off. I was right. We didn’t know the future. Could it have been a disaster still for them? Sure, but no one knew that at the time. I wasn’t promising things would work out. I wasn’t promising that they wouldn’t.

As we prepare to embark on a new year, I’m trying to tell myself that. No one would have ever dreamed that 2020 would turn out the way it did, but in reality, if we looked back, no one would likely have dreamed that about any year. Some years might stand out more than others, but in every year, no one knows what’s coming.

Who knew at the start of 2001 that we would be attacked by Muslims who would destroy the World Trade Center? Most of us wouldn’t have known it that very morning if any of us. I remember where I was still when I heard the news. I was in a chapel service at my Bible College and I had heard that a plane had struck one of the towers. My honest thought was some pilot must have been really drunk. After the service, we heard the other tower had been hit.

So much for the drunk theory.

Sometimes good things can happen. Years ago, my wife and I attended a church that met at a movie theater in a mall. They were having an event going on where one lucky winner would win in a random drawing two $400 gift cards to the mall. I entered Allie and I both in.

When the day comes, they call ten names at random from the list. I was one of them. We all go up there and the rules are given that names are going to be drawn at random from those ten. The last person left is the winner. As it turns out, I was the last person left. Everyone enters a contest like that hoping they will win, but most of us think it’s unlikely, and we’re right statistically, but someone does have to win.

2021 could be a disaster. We don’t know. We might long for another 2020 when this year is up. 2021 could be the best year we’ve ever had. We don’t know. We might look back and think 2020 made us appreciate it more. It could be just another year with nothing that stands out.

We can make predictions about the future, but many of us often make predictions that are false and many of us worry about things that never happen. Mark Twain is reported to have said that he has worried about many things in his life. Some of them actually happened.

The year is new and we don’t know. Even when the year is old, we don’t know. Anything can happen. If we are Christians though, we know God is in charge of our story so He’s the main one behind the scenes. Whether you are Calvinist or Arminian or anywhere in between, all of us believe in sovereignty in some sense. I hold that God does not cause everything, but He allows everything in some sense. Nothing surprises Him.

So I could either be worrying about the future, or I could try to see the adventure in every day. Keep in mind Chesterton once said that an inconvenience is an adventure wrongly understood and an adventure is an inconvenience rightly understood.

I want an adventure.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

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