The Future Lies Before You

With squeals of delight and wide-eyed wonder, my children run excitedly through the house. In their minds, each sleeping person must now awake to share in the new joy they have discovered.

The Future Lies Before You

One would think it was Christmas morning. But it’s not. It’s a snow day.

Depending on where you live, this excitement might seem absurd or maybe something never once experienced. Unlike my childhood days in Canada, we get just enough snow to cause happy cheers and a race to get dressed. Out come the snow trousers, boots, heavy coats and scarves. Out come the sledges. Out they go to sink their first steps in the great white beyond.

I can’t look at the freshly blanketed, undisturbed world outside without thinking of a little poem my grandmother loved to quote:

The future lies before you

Like freshly fallen snow

Be careful how you walk it

For every step will show.

As a child I understood her words as they related to the snowy world before me. As an adult I have a much deeper appreciation for her words of wisdom, especially as we are about to enter a new year. And even more so this year, after the shifting experiences of 2020.

The world is a more unsettled place. We who had come to see life as predictable, now wonder what is around the corner. Rumours, speculations, shocking ideas swirl through our conversations. Worry drifts up like a snowbank left to itself. Are we really living on the precipice of change?

My hands linger in the hot, sudsy dishwater and my eyes gaze out of the frosty window as the tunes of Hollyn sing through my Bluetooth speaker:

Only you know how to steady me

Ready my heart for everything that’s coming my way

Help me trust that you’re ahead of me

Going before my feet with every step I take.

Only you can steady me

Steady me . . .

I ponder my thoughts. Why do I feel more unsettled than usual? The turning of the calendar page used to only remind me to order a new planner on Amazon. What is different this year? The total disruptions of the past year to every basic need right down to toilet paper have caused more fear than normal. But should I be so alarmed? Are we really stepping into a brave new world?

Not really. Not if you look back through history. And not if you’ve experienced some earth-shattering traumatic ‘every days’ in your own life. Did you not realize that every moment has always held the potential for colossal unknowns? Have we not heard the biblical admonition to never boast of tomorrow for one knows not what a day may bring? Have we been lulled to sleep on the gentle waves of normalcy? Maybe the Lord has pulled out some of the popsicle sticks in our life to awaken us. Life has never been secure. Are we just now learning this?

I don’t really enjoy the sordid details of the mixed-up lives of those who lived during the days of the Judges. But this one phrase recently caught my attention when reading about the enemies the Lord had purposefully left in Israel’s land: “He did this to teach warfare to generations of Israelites who had no experience in battle” (Judges 3:2 NLT). 

Really? The Lord left enemies on purpose? It was part of His training programme?

And what about the night the Lord Himself insisted the disciples climb into that boat to leave Him. Surely, they could trust His judgement? Gently, but firmly He shoved them away from the shore and waved goodbye.

I have chills just thinking of it. In His will He sent them off knowing full well the storm that lay ahead. And lest right now you wonder how this article could possibly bring peace for the unknowns of 2021, be reminded again that you have never known what lies ahead. You only thought you did. Perhaps we are more in danger when we “think” we are at peace, than when we “know” we aren’t.  It isn’t just time we let the words sink in, instead, “it is HIGH time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed” (Romans 13:11 KJV, emphasis mine).

In the storm, the waves will rock and heave. Everything about the disciples’ little boat was threatened. In Peter’s risky water adventure, placing footsteps where no one had ever stepped before, he learned even quicker than the rest an outstretched hand to the Lord is the only true security one can have. And the only real option we have.

A glance out of the window shows me the well-tracked garden no longer looks fresh and new. The voices in the garage tell me to hurry with the hot chocolate. As I stare into the deep, dark, depths of the mug in my hand I wonder, should I put some marshmallows on top? Or some whipped cream? No matter the uncertainties of life, we can still enjoy the little blessings along the way, knowing our Lord has always been and will always be in complete control.