Reflections: What surprises does the future hold?

When I grew up we contacted our neighbors by turning a phone crank to ring a long and a short or two shorts. If someone had told me that I would someday carry a phone that could reach around the world with the touch of my finger, I would have been doubtful. Communication afar was in the form of a letter with a 3 cent stamp. If someone had told me that someday we would have computers that could send messages across the world in seconds, I would not have believed it. The future has a way of surprising us by its unbelievable developments!

In my Reflection during the Christmas weekend, I wrote about prophecies in the Old Testament that were fulfilled at Christmas as recorded in the New Testament. What does the Bible say about our eternal future?

One promise is that Jesus will return. “So you also must be ready, because the son of man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” (Matthew 24:44) We are given examples of when people were told to be ready for God’s plan to unfold but were still caught by surprise. “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark…” (Matthew 24:37-39) “It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed.” (Luke 17:28-30)

All will see the return of Jesus even if they don’t believe it is probable. “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.” (Matthew 24: 30)

Does a feeling of doom build in our hearts when we think about these things? It used to for me! However, after knowing God more, I feel differently. I don’t mean that knowing more facts about God has given me peace, even though that helps us understand his character. I have peace for the future because there is a personal relationship and growing trust in who God is. With this relationship, I’m going to spend eternity with a friend, not a stranger. Besides, Jesus promised those who have a relationship with him that he has a plan, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:1-3) With all the evidence that Biblical prophecies do come true, the facts above give us a glimpse of a future that anyone who has a relationship with Jesus can get excited about!

Helen McCormack and her husband, David, are members of Wycliffe Bible Translators serving from their home in Minot.