A few years ago, I was standing in a line in the Commonwealth bank. And I picked up a brochure on personal insurance.
‘Did you know 1 in 3 Australian will be off work for at least 3 months during their working life due to illness or injury’.
‘Did you know Males have a 2 in 5 chance and females a 1 in 4 chance of suffering a critical illness between age 30 and 64.
There were also life affirming statistics on strokes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and so on.
Which bank can help create a fear of the future? The Commonwealth bank can.
Most of us fear the future. We fear the unknown. The future is an undiscovered country and no one has been there.
And this fear of the unknown future has caused untold misery in the world. Nationally and internationally as tribes, nations, rulers, companies and individuals have all jockeyed for positions of power and security.
We see it clearly with the tyrants of our world. When Kim Jong-un took power he immediately set about systematically killing those who were part of his father’s regime. He feared their power and influence. In other words, he feared the future and so he took savage steps to control it.
But it’s not just the tyrants of the world who fear the future. We fear the future. And it makes us tyrants. A fear of the future means we do everything in our power to make sure our future is good and safe and secure.
But there is a problem. We don’t determine the future. We are not in control. And so, we do the next best thing – or so it seems – we control those around us. We become tyrants. Everything must go our way to keep our future secure and God help those who get in our way. You see it in homes, work places, sporting realms and even in churches. This fear of the future explains some why parents in China would pay over $40,000pa in tutoring for their children. Some kids have just 90 minutes of free time each day. But many aussie parents are just the same. I know – I’m one of them.
And our modern society builds on this. It tells us ‘you’ve got this’, ‘the power of success is in your hands’. But nothing creates anxiety like thinking you determine all of your future. Nothing leads to fear and the misuse of people like thinking you must secure your own security. If you secure your own future you will do whatever it takes to preserve your career, your plan, your life. And, you will hurt and stomp on all sorts of people who might threaten your future. Isn’t this what we see in so many corporate workplaces?
God alone determines the future
But it is God alone who determines the future. It is God alone who knows and controls the future. Daniel’s shout out about God reveals these great truths. Daniel lived under the rule of the tyrant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon (Daniel chapter 2).
"Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him. I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors: You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you, you have made known to us the dream of the king."
The future is in God’s hands. Not yours. Nor mine. Nor Kim Jong-Un’s hands. Thank God. God decides what will happen. And God even reveals what will happen to his people when it suits his plans and purpose.
So, we can all take a breath. We can loosen our grip on the steering wheel of our own history. For the future is in God’s hands.
But the wonder and relief of that is transcended by something even greater. God doesn’t just decide the future. He has decided the future!
God has decided the future
A handful of sentences later Daniel interprets the dream of the tyrant king and reveals what God will do in the future.
"In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. (Daniel chapter 2 verse 44)
Here is the future that God has decided will happen. And it has been revealed. God promised to create a kingdom that would endure forever.
A few hundred years after Daniel the promised kingdom was started. The kingdom that will endure forever is the kingdom of Jesus. Jesus started his ministry with the words, ‘The Kingdom of God is near’ because Jesus, the King, had come. He was the rock that destroyed the kingdom of tyrants.
Jesus announced his rule and then three swift years later he started his rule by dying on the cross and conquering death through his resurrection. Jesus set the future in more than stone. He set it in his life, death and resurrection. It is his kingdom that will never be destroyed and so will never end. God has decided the future and this is it.
For all who trust Jesus, they have this true security. This is the safe future we crave. It is found in Jesus. In coming to him and handing over your life to him so he can secure your future.
Your changed future, if you’ve come to Jesus, changes how you live now. You no longer need to be a tyrant who stomps on others to get your way and control everything around you. With God’s help, you will start to be a person who creates peace and stability. You will be able to lift others up for your future is secure. You no longer need to fear the future. It is kept safe in God’s hands.
Check out Risen Church talks – God is our protection to explore this some more.