“For who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun?” (Ecclesiastes 6:12)
An issue of TIME magazine almost thirty years ago gave examples of men who tried to do what man cannot do–predict the future. Here are some of these predictions made in the 1900s as listed in TIME, Fall, 1992:
- Henry Adams, considered to be one of America’s foremost thinkers, said in 1903, “My figures coincide in setting 1950 as the year that the world must smash.”
- In 1901, two years before Kitty Hawk, Wilbur Wright told his brother Orville that man would not fly for fifty years.
- Not long before the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Admiral William Leary told Harry Truman, “This is the biggest fool thing we have ever done…the bomb will never go off.”
- Some even claimed that scientists would create machines that would be able to read our minds!
Here we are years later feeling the same curiosity and anxiety about the future. This time, however, the uncertainty is more far-reaching. Our world has changed dramatically. The year 2020 was like an earthquake and every month since has been like an aftershock. Our laws, our economy, our population and our entire culture is changing so rapidly that it is hard to make plans for anything.
There is only one way to have peace and clarity in a world that has been turned upside down: hold to God’s unchanging hand and trust in His all-seeing eye. Remember that the Lord said, “I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done” (Isa. 46:9-10). God has always known everything in the future. Nothing surprises Him. He saw the Civil War, the Great Depression and COVID coming long before they broke into history. He knows every detail of the results of each crisis and works all things for the good of His people (Rom 8:28). We will never be able to see what God sees, but that should not keep us from trusting that He does.
The Bible teaches us not to brag about the future or worry about it. Solomon said, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth” (Prov. 27:1). Jesus said, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matt. 6:34). We need faith in these turbulent times to keep us from going to either extreme.
The great book of Ecclesiastes gives us wisdom we cannot find anywhere else. It tells us, “That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecc. 1:9). It reminds us of the cycles and phases of life: “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven” (Ecc. 3:1). One of the best things Christians can do these days is turn off the television, leave social media alone, read the book of Ecclesiastes, and perhaps sing the chorus of “God Holds the Future in His Hands.”
Kerry Duke, VP of Academics and Academic Affairs