Thursday, December 16, 2004


A New Kind of Future

A while back I wrote a story (one of the Mosaic stories) called "Long Haul
Christian." Its theme was that following Jesus is a lifetime process, which
was a new idea to me because I'd never looked farther ahead that my own

In his response, Dave referred to me as "Long Haul Larry" and he has
continued to do so. The man must be a prophet.

Number one in my pantheon of fears is the future. I never know what's
around the next corner. Each day brings new problems and new opportunities
for failure. The future has always loomed over me like a big hammer.

So I ignore it. There's nothing I can do about it anyway, so why think
about it. Today has enough problems; I don't need to go looking for more.
I'll solve today's problem, but it seems that solving problems is just an
invitation to more difficult problems. Ignore it. The future won't go away
but my blood pressure won't get too high.

And there's a more sinister aspect. I always figured if things got too bad
I could just pull the switch. Quit. Call exit. Life never quite got that
bad. I had a little bitty candle flame that kept burning, and kept hoping
that maybe sometime things would get better. Hoping in hope, pretty much.

Hope has a powerful friend in Jesus. A year ago I still didn't think much
about the future because each day kept me very busy. Now I have time to
look forward.

The view ahead is very misty. Dragons lurk there, life-enders,
sculpture-breakers, the Unsolvable Problem, that One Grain Too Many whose
removal brings the whole complex structure down around my feet. Wham. Out
there too stands God, who says all will be well. Whom do I believe? My own
overactive imagination, or God? After all, the dragons haven't gotten me
yet and I've been a pretty big target for many years.

Is it really proper to have confidence that God will help me through the
coming years? Can I count on this? Will He really stand up to my attempts
to depart and forget, to my fears and tendency to run away? Will He
continue to paint a future that's better than anything I can imagine? My
own growing confidence says "Yes," but I wonder. Better not to think about
it. Just let each day unfold on its own.

I still can't do anything about the future except make today as good as
possible. But I don't need to believe that the future is just a hammer
waiting to crush me in an unguarded moment. I have a big guard now, who
even when I denied Him guarded my days.

Confidence. What a radical concept. Is it proper for a follower of Jesus to
feel confident? It's part of that New Larry I don't understand.

2004 December 15

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