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Future Things

Lt. Colonel Tim Foley explains why we have no reason to worry about the future. by Lt. Colonel Tim Foley

One of the rituals of my childhood was watching cartoons every Saturday morning. I was responsible for two things on that special day: getting my own breakfast and not disturbing my sleeping parents. The breakfast menu was simple: heavy on the cereal and light on the milk. After securing my food needs, I would head to the living room and turn on the family’s black-and-white 19-inch television. I was excited to be transported into the future world envisioned by the Hanna-Barbera cartoon, The Jetsons.

The cartoon followed the antics of the Jetson family, who lived within “Orbit City” in buildings lifted off the ground by adjustable columns. The father, George Jetson, worked a solid hour a day, two days a week at Spacely Space Sprockets. His wife, Jane, was busy taking care of their family’s needs in their fully automated home. Daughter Judy attended high school—gushing over boys and recording secrets in her digital diary known as “Didi.” Her extremely intelligent six-and-a- half-year-old brother, Elroy, attended “Little Dipper School,” where he would study everything that had to do with science.

Keep in mind that this cartoon ran in the early ‘60s. It was the era of the Cold War and the race to explore space. The entire population at that time thought about exploring the galaxies and who would be the first to reach them. This show played right into the thinking of the world at that time.

The future world envisioned by the creators of The Jetsons is now somewhat our regular reality. Personal tablets (Judy’s digital diary), shorter work weeks, automated cars and smart appliances and homes are just part of life now as we know it. The age of personal robots has descended upon us with numerous benefits and challenges to life.

As people, we have always been interested in what lies ahead. The curiosity of the unknown draws us in. Psychics, palm readers, pundits and pollsters all promise a peek into the impending unknown. Even in theological circles, discussion of things to come has been a part of the faith dialogue for centuries. When will Jesus return? What is heaven really like? Is there a literal hell? These are reaching questions that beg for immediate answers.

Some have even been so bold as to predict the actual day when Jesus would return to Earth in bodily form. Yet, at the same time, they have been clearly ignoring what God’s Word has to say about making guesses: “But the exact day and hour? No one knows that. Not even heaven’s angels. Not even the Son. Only the Father knows” (Matthew 24:36, The Message).

One of the dangers of being too fixated on the future is a neglect of the present. If we worry too much about the future, our minds can become loaded with anxiety. Fear begins to get its ugly foothold in our lives and can basically cripple us mentally from moving forward. We can simply overlook the opportunities that are right in front of us that beckon us to step through.

So, what do we do with the future? Focus on the present. Take the time to be human. When we to the world around you and adds to your own sense of well-being and serenity.

Jesus reminded us simply not to worry about the future: “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes” (Matthew 6:34, The Message).

The only thing that is certain about the future is that it is truly uncertain. We can’t control it. We can’t clearly predict it. We cannot own it. But we certainly can occupy with the present time.

The journey with Jesus is all about personal transformation. It is about bringing hope to our own soul and help into the world around us. Someone once said that planning for tomorrow is time well spent, but worrying about tomorrow is time wasted. Don’t let thoughts of the unknown days ahead hinder your relationship with God today.

This article was originally published in the January 2019 issue of The War Cry.

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