Before anyone goes out and puts money on that sure thing at some Las Vegas sports book as a way of funding college, let me tell you about my predictive prowess. Every year we have a little contest in my family. Laurie, Toby, my brother Jerry and I try to predict the winners of ten college games each week of the college football season. We also include all 35 bowl games. At the end of the year we declare the person with the most games picked correctly to be the winner. Toby came into this season on a three year winning streak. His streak came to an end this year. Do you know who won? Laurie. That’s right. My wife was better at predicting winners of football games than I was. My male pride wasn’t wounded. Not at all. I rejoice in the success of my wife. No, I feel real good about the whole thing. And I’m not going to play again. Ever. Excuse me while I go sulk. I guess what that says is, if you’re looking for an accurate prediction about the outcome of the game you’ll have better luck with Laurie than you will with me.
Of course those who are not Christians take other routes. They flock to palm readers, mediums, astrologers and horoscopes in hopes of peeling back the veil and seeing into the future. And they fail just as miserably as the rapture predictors. Jesus told us how to think about the future. He said, “Don’t worry about it.” Literally. In Matthew 6:34 he said, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough troubles of its own.” That includes trying to figure out when he’s finally going to show up. Jesus said very clearly that no one will know the hour or the day of his return. We can’t and won’t know what is going to happen in the future. It is spooky and titillating to try to look into the future, but it is not what God wants us to do. Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 5:2 “you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” I remember a time when a thief came in the night to an apartment I lived in years ago. It was totally unexpected. We had no inkling that such a thing was going to happen. It was a complete shock. That’s pretty much how the whole future is going to arrive, and it is certainly how the Lord’s return will come. So what should we do? 1 Thessalonians 5:8 says, “Since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate and the hope of salvation as a helmet.” Calm down. Control yourself. Live each day in faith in our Lord. Trust his goodness, his wisdom and his plan. Then put on love and hope. Quit worrying about what’s going to happen and get on with the business of living by faith and honoring God with your life each and every day. As Jesus said, “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). That message will not draw a big audience of people anxious to learn “the secrets of the future that no one else knows,” but it will create a life of peace, joy and glory to God.