One of the abilities that we have as human beings (and it’s one that distinguishes us from all the other creatures), is our ability to ponder the future — to wonder, to imagine, to look forward to, to fear what lies before us. And we all do it! Our minds are often turning to the future and what that future might hold for us.
For all our pondering, however, there is not a single one of us who can penetrate the future. The wisest of all Jewish kings, King Solomon, once said, ‘we do not know what a day may bring forth’, and that is just as true today as it was when Solomon first said it millennia ago. Gazing into the future is like gazing into the blue of a cloudless sky. No matter how hard we strain our eyes we cannot see the wonderful array of stars that we know lies beyond. So it is with respect to the future. We cannot see what lies beyond the present. It is not a mystery to God! He knows what is before us down to the smallest detail. But it is a mystery to us and will never cease to be a mystery until the end of life.
If we were exempt from sorrows and difficulties, the unknownness of the future would be something we could easily live with. It would actually add to our happiness. There would be all the excitement of discovery as each day’s events unfolded themselves. The questions, ‘I wonder what will happen tomorrow. . .next week. . .next month. . .next year?’ would be asked in a spirit of happy anticipation for we would know that whatever took place, it would be something good and joy-giving.
But life is not like that. We haven’t been exempted from sorrows and difficulties in the past and it is simply a fact that we will not be exempt from them in the future. And that is something that can make the prospect of the future hard to cope with. Many believers — if they are honest — will admit to anxiety and fear as they contemplate what might be ahead.