November 30, 2013

Is The Future What We Hope For?

Is the future what I hope for?  Is my present what I always imagined it would be?

My grandmother turned 94 this past week.  She can still walk without anyone's aid.  She does not yet require a walking stick or wheelchair.  She can still climb stairs by her own strength and enjoys sewing and crocheting.

Her attitude is one of happiness and joy nearly every day.  Rare is the day when she is sad or maybe a bit out of sorts.  For her the sun is always shining and she laughs frequently.

My grandmother is a precious little lady and someone who is always eager to give you a compliment or make you laugh.  She is living in the twilight years of her life and yet she is not dismayed.

I admire her so much.  There are times when I just watch her.  Those moments are special to me.  Her life is one of peace and contentment.  And when I study her I wonder if I will reach the same number of years.  And if I do will I be at least as gracious as she is?  Would I have even half the strength and health she has?

And then when I have very discouraging and dismal days I feel that perhaps I don't want to reach her number of years at all.  For when life is harsh and painful I can't imagine withstanding so many more years full of days so difficult.

Perhaps my grandmother had those thoughts from time-to-time in her many years of life too.  I know she has suffered great pain and loss in the past.  But even so she carried on.  Not by her own strength  but by God's care.  At least that is what she has told me many, many times.  She encourages me when I'm sad and weary.  She can sense, even in her old age, what I am feeling.

" Its okay, hun."  She says to me.  " Trust God.  He will help you.  He knows your whole life.  He will help you.  Trust Him."  And I would be tempted in those moments to ignore the words except that they come from the lips of someone who has seen and been through so much.  What she says has meaning and power to me because they are real.  She experienced every word.

C.S. Lewis once wrote: " We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be."

And there it is.  I see my grandmother and how God has preserved her life and blessed her with children who have taken responsibility for her because they desire to, not because they feel obligated.  She has held her children, grand children, and great grand children in her arms.  Loneliness remains far from her because loved ones are always near.

And then I see myself and wonder who will care for me if and when I reach old age?  I have no husband, I have no children, in fact in every area of life I have very little in this world.  If nothing has improved for me by this point in life is there reason to believe that it ever will?

To this God responds in Psalm 68:6:  " I place lonely people in families... "

And in Isaiah 41:10 He says: " Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not be dismayed, for I  am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

And I believe Him because I see every day living proof of His love, of His provision for those who love Him.  God treats His children with respect and dignity and surrounds them in beauty and hope.  And I realize that no matter what comes, He has already been there and knows the best way to help me through.

I say along with King David in Psalm 38:9:  " Oh Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you."

And God reassures me with His promise in John 14:18:  " I will not leave you as an orphan. I will come to you." 

God is not human and so His capacity to love and care is alien to our ways.  Just as His timing for all events in our lives are often not when we think they should be.  Even so, His promises are never broken.

Is the future what we hope for?  I believe the answer is no.  Eternity not withstanding, even in this life our future is far, far better than anything we could hope to dream.  God's care is over and beyond all expectations.  To know it by experience God asks us to do one thing.... trust Him.

" When I consider your heavens, 
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?"
Psalm 8:3-4


Anonymous said...

Many thoughts came to my mind as I read this very honest post. we could and we do wish for many things in our lives. Those with little wish for a little bit more but often those with a lot wish for even a lot more.

I too have no kids and wonder why since I love kids and kids seem to love me. So I make do with other people's kids.

Yet for some with kids, they find the kids a source of constant worry, pain and grief.

We just don't know. We can only trust in the one who does know all things and remember all the good that He has done in our lives knowing that in every life some tears will fall but at least we have a Father that will always be there to wipe away our tears.

Your grandma is an absolute blessing. Enjoy her.


lgsquirrel: She is a blessing. It encourages me to think that even in old age we can still be used by God in ways we don't even realize.

And you are right about not knowing what struggles we would face on the "other side of the fence." There are struggles in life for everything.

God is teaching me to be content no matter what my circumstances and to stop worrying about the future. That is His responsibility. Because honestly he's the only one who can handle it correctly.

Blessings to you.

T-Childs said...

She looks a bit like my old Nan as well, and she seems an old battler, but anyone that age usually is!!!

' I have no husband, I have no children, in fact in every area of life I have very little in this world. If nothing has improved for me by this point in life is there reason to believe that it ever will?' I am in the same situation as you, and with the exception that I am not looking for a husband(!) but a wife, and yet I am growing closer to God all the time. In the world's eyes we are poor and going nowhere, in God's eyes we have potential that only He can see, nurture and bring out. Remember, Moses was 80 before he led the Israelites to the Promised Land.

Just when we think we are going to be miserable and life seems one long line of grey going on into the future, God can bring something into our lives that changes everything. A job, a person, a piece of scripture, a new circumstance, a new outlook, it could come from anywhere and be anything. Seek and you will find, my dear!!!

One of the fears I have often had, almost pathological, is that God brings us to a place we don't want to be and doing something we don't want to do and so we don't fully trust Him because of this. Maybe you have this fear too, deep down. It paralyses, as all fears do, but it is like all fears where God is concerned, unfounded and a lie.

He knows all your fears and your ambitions and hopes. Tell Him them all, and unburden yourself.


T-Childs: An excellent point about Moses. And you are correct that God can use anyone and anything to help us understand that He has a purpose for our lives.

Interesting thought on the deep set fear of God taking us where we don't want to be.

I think to an extent that fear is very natural for human beings to experience. And that is where practicing faith in Him comes into play.

And I think that feeling that fear, being unsettled in that way forces people to search for true answers.

God is good even when circumstances may not be. And then, in time, the circumstances will change for the better.

Great thought! Thank you for sharing and for the encouragement.
Blessings to you.