Here are some thoughts on the idea of facing the future.
Over the years I have gathered a set of quotes and sayings from various sources – the first that I wrote down came from the Talmud:
“In every age there comes a time when leadership suddenly comes forth to meet the needs of the hour. And so there is no man who does not find his time, and there is no hour that does not have its leader.”
This has always meant to me that there will be a moment in our life where we must make a decision that will determine the direction that we will take.
Think of the twelve disciples, along with their friends and families, in those first few hours after Jesus was crucified and buried in the tomb. How did they deal with His death and burial?
Clearly, they were afraid because they didn’t know what might happen to any of them. After three years of following Jesus, could they return home and start their old lives over again? (Remember that in the first days following Easter, Peter along with Andrew, James, and John went back to fishing.) Could they continue doing what they had been doing without Jesus there to lead and guide them? There must have been so much uncertainty about what the future would hold and how they would face it.
We want and we demand a certain degree of certainty in our lives. We do not like it when that certainty disappears; so much so that we are quite willing to believe or accept the guidance of anyone if it will provide the certainty that we need. This is the essence of human nature.
In the good times, we think that it is what we do that makes thing good and we don’t know how to deal with things when they aren’t so good.
For the disciples and the other followers, those first few hours after the crucifixion and burial must have been agonizing. Even after the Resurrection eased some of the pain and doubt in their lives, all of Jesus’ talk about leaving and waiting for the Holy Spirit to come probably only heightened that uncertainty if not confused them.
But Jesus was not leaving them unprepared; He was preparing them for the arrival of the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit came on that first Pentecost, it opened their minds and completed the teachings that Jesus had provided during those three years of His Galilean ministry.
When we are under stress, we tend to forget that Christ is standing right next to us, as He has always done from the day we opened our minds, our hearts, and our soul to Him. In that moment that we accept Christ, the Holy Spirit empowers us, just as it did those gathered in Jerusalem on the first Pentecost. The presence of the Holy Spirit does not give us the answers to the questions but it does give us the ability to think the problem through and arrive at the decision that we must make.
The presence of the Holy Spirit provides the comfort that removes the stress and calms our fears so that we can think through the problem.
So it is that while some may face the future with uncertainty and fear, we can face the future knowing that the uncertainty and fear are gone and our decisions can be made clearly and correctly, done with assurance and not uncertainty, empowered by the Holy Spirit through Christ.