“Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it with the handle of anxiety or the handle of faith.”
— Henry Ward Beecher
There is something about the future that fascinates us. We are curious about what the future holds. Some try to peer into the future to prepare for the present, like palm-reading, tea-leaves patterns and crystal ball peeking. The more “logical” ones will look at trends, charts and data to make projections. We want to know the future to prepare for it. And it’s prudent to be vigilant and well-prepared. We need to be careful with our time, relationships and finances. That’s why we craft strategies and carefully conceive plans.
While the future fascinates us, sometimes we may worry and waste our time worrying! So, what do we worry about? Here are some of the things we worry about constantly:
- Fashion: How we look (How much time do we spend asking what clothes to wear today?)
- Food: What to eat (What do we want to eat for lunch?)
- Finances: What we have (How much do we have left in our bank account?)
- Fame: What people think of us (What do people see or say about us?)
And may I add one more? Our free time (recreation): What to do?! We worry about a lot of things don’t we?
My point is, no matter what we do, how much preparation and predictions we make, there is very little we can do to handle tomorrow.
The fact is that over a billion people in the world are hungry today. Every hour 24,000 people die of starvation. In Indonesia, 66 million children don’t ask what to eat, but is there food to eat, clothes to wear and shelter over their heads each day. Of these, many never heard even once about Jesus Christ or the salvation He offers.
Jesus commanded, “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” (Matthew 6:25). Before saying this, Jesus reminded His disciples about the difference between storing treasures in heaven and on earth. The problem is we are “of little faith” (v.30) and we try to eagerly seek after these things like the Jones next door (in our context, the Gentiles in v.32).
What is enough? When will we be satisfied?
The problem with worrying about the future stems from our lack of faith in a loving Jehovah Jireh who will provide. While he did not promise us everything that our heart desires, He did promise us the peace which surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:6-7). And so much more! Therefore, we are asked to seek Him first and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33).
Last August, after running Singapore’s Army Half Marathon, I felt a sharp pain on my chest. I saw a cardiologist and did an ECG. The results were not good. My blood-pressure was high, and my chronic irritable bowel syndrome was flaring up. Compounding these health issues was my severely degenerative neck injury that warrants surgery. Outwardly, I looked fine. I was eating and sleeping well, and seemingly fit and healthy. Who would have guessed that my health has taken such a beating in recent years while serving my alma mater. After much prayer and wrestling with the Lord, I have decided to stop all that I am doing, including my ministry at SBC. This will be my last newsletter to you.
For those whom I had the privilege of teaching and serving, thank you for allowing me to be part of your learning journey. I am grateful for your notes of encouragements and your active participation in the activities of our College through this grapevine. I thank God for you!
So what then are my future plans? For now, I will intentionally rest for a season. If the Lord gives me strength and health, I will continue with the ministry of preaching and teaching. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the air-conditioned comforts of a classroom or the under the canopy of a tropical rainforest. What matter is my life counts for the Lord. I am learning to surrender and allow God to work through people and circumstances. And I am learning not to worry but trust in our Jehovah Jireh who has been, and is, and will be faithful. Amen!
Yes, we do not know WHAT the future holds, but we do know WHO holds the future…
Grace and peace