There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.
The end of matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.
Have Faith and Hope for Positive Future
Some people do not aspire to impact their generation because they do not know the worth of their future. God’s motivational words to the people of Israel as they found themselves in exile suggest that the plan of God concerning our future is always positive:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).
Certainly there is the need to have faith in the future that is better than the world we live in now if we are to impact our generation in this New Year.
Three major motivational thoughts that underscore the need to visualize and possess our glorious future are worth pointing out. The first concerns with the fact of history. The second point is the goodness and sufficiency of God and the third reason is about the sovereignty of God to turn situations around. What appears to be bad can be used to serve as good (Romans 8:28). These points are worth elaborating:
The Fact of History
Hundreds of years ago, the world had the same dangers we have today. They just took different forms. And hundred years from now, scientist will, in all probability, have discovered a complete cure for AIDS, but there will be a new disease that we have never heard of that will be the dreaded disease. Yet history has it that despite diseases, wars and lack of resources life in general keeps getting better. There are ups and downs as well with the economic system of the world, but the overall trend is positive. We are moving from one degree of glory to another. In spite of the global problems of war and unfavourable weather conditions, scientists are still in the industry of inventing new things.
Granted, things are still not perfect, but they are a lot better than they used to be on many fronts. Human slavery in the western world has been abolished. Equality of humanity is history (that a black man is now the American President). Women can vote (including some women in Middle East), be well educated and enter the professions including the priesthood in many protestant denominations. Many childhood diseases such as polio in Ghana have been eradicated. We have more gadgets, appliances and equipment than ever to make our work and our lives easier. Would anyone living today want to live two or three hundred years ago? It is true that everybody likes progress and we must acknowledge that a problem with progress is better than problems without progress.
I remember that even twenty years ago, most secretaries in Ghana, were typing their documents using the traditional typewriter. There were several carbons separating the various sheets of onion skin paper. It is a pity that the poor ones who made a mistake had to erase the mistake on every piece of paper, brushing away the gummy crumbs after each rub. Today with computers, we can produce perfect copies of the perfect original as we need. That is improvement. Indeed, history teaches that we will always generally be moving toward a better future, although there will be dark moments along the way.
There is the temptation that this may sound too simplistic at first, but if we reflect on it, it is something worthwhile. The creator of the universe is omnipotent, omniscient, merciful, fabulously wealthy, wise, and all sufficient and he wants the best for us because he loves us. There is no doubt that God can run the universe and straighten out the mess. God has done it many times in the past. God may have to correct us and discipline us, but even that is for our own good. We tend to focus on all the things that are going wrong, and indeed there are plenty: There is high rate of poverty and diseases in the continent of Africa coupled with political and tribal wars. But if we dwell on these negatives, we will hinder ourselves and our own future. As human beings, we are limited and may despair when we have no solutions for these and other problems. But God who is in charge, does have solutions.
When Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, they soon encountered a seemingly impossible obstacle. As they came to the Red sea (sea of reel), with the Egyptian army in hot pursuit, there was no human solution to this problem, but God had a plan, and he had the ability to carry it out. No matter how big your obstacle may be as the New Year begins, God has a good plan for your life and he will carry them through. No one on Moses’ leadership team would have ever thought of God’s solution. The reason being that they were mere human beings, and no mere human being can think like God.
No mere man or woman has a fraction or a percentage of the ability or wisdom of God. Although God’s plan was somehow perfectly illogical, only God knew he could and would part the Red Sea, preparing a path for the Israelites to cross safely. Once they were on the other side, he destroyed their enemies, still in hot pursuit, by causing the Red Sea to return to normal (Exodus 14).
A little later in the account of the journey to the Promised Land, Moses sent twelve spies into the Promised Land to explore it out. Ten came back with a negative report. “The people who live there are giants,” they said, “We will never defeat them.” Two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, had a different perspective on things. “The people are large” they said, but the land is beautiful, flowing with milk and honey. With God’s help, we can defeat the inhabitants” (Numbers 13 and 14). God was not pleased with the negative report. He wanted the people to trust him. God still does. God is still at work today. Our problems may seem big, but God is able to deal with all of them.
The Sovereignty of God has it that even the Bad Circumstance can be turned to serve as Good
We all remember the story of Joseph in the Bible. How could anyone have more bad things happening to him than Joseph? He was hated by his brothers and sold into slavery. He was taken into Egypt, far away from his family. He was later wrongly accused by his master’s wife of making sexual advances towards her and was subsequently thrown into prison for something he did not do. Finally, as a result of miraculous interpretation of dreams, he provided to the king’s cupbearer and the baker, he was summoned by the king himself to explain not only the meaning of a dream but what the dream actually was (the king had forgotten). Only God could have revealed this to Joseph. It was humanly impossible to know. The king promoted Joseph to the position of second in command and put him in charge of preparing the country for the lean years ahead as the king had dreamt about.
Meanwhile, back home, the lean years hit. Joseph’s father and brothers were running out of food. They had heard about plentiful food in Egypt. So ten of the brothers journeyed to the far country to purchase provisions for their families. Upon arrival, they were taken to Joseph, whom they did not recognize then. Joseph was then in his significance place. But Joseph recognized them. After drilling them and holding one of them hostage, Joseph revealed himself to his family and asked that they be brought to Egypt so he could care for them. In a joyful reunion sense, abounding with hugs and tears, Joseph forgave all and said to his brothers, by saying you thought evil against me but God meant it for Good. Indeed, the Bible promises that all things work together for Good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose (Roman 8:28).
Visualize and Possess your Glorious Future Knowing that the end of matter is better than its beginning (Ecclesiastics 7:8)
Time has three dimensions: the past, present and the future. Likewise in everything, there is a starting point, a middle period and a glorious end. This part focuses on the future. How does your end connect with your relevant living? Certainly your sense of future affect what you do now. Contrary to our traditional mind-sets about beginnings and ends is the end as God sees it and how God’s word helps us to see it.
“An interesting show begins in the morning” (Agoro beye de a efiri anopa) is a common Ghanaian adage implying that your end is determined by your beginning. But the wisest man who has ever lived, Solomon writes that your end is better than your beginning. I believe that God is more interested in your future than your beginning. However, the wedding of Cana (John 2) and the common African adage that an interesting show begins in the morning reveals the common human mindset about beginnings. For the master of ceremonies remarked in John 2:10 that “everyone brings the choice one first.”
Indeed, we love to enjoy our best when we have begun marriage, education and ministry. But you know what, as reasonable as human approach to timing and purpose may be, it should not be presumed as divine. In God’s economy, the beginning is not necessarily foreshadow of the future because unimpressive start does not guarantee a gloomy future. This is true in our both spiritual and physical journeys in the Lord. On the spiritual note, now that we have been saved, we have a hope of glorious future where we are going to see Jesus face to face. In Apostle John’s picture (symbol) of heaven, we are going to walk on gold, no more sorrow, fears, frustrations and disappointments. But we are going to see the glory of God. On the physical dimension, perhaps Solomon might have learnt from his father David that although he did not start well, his end was great. So also Samson did start well, but his end was still greater. Thus as good as your beginning may be, it cannot be compared with the future God has prepared for you. A look at Eccl 7:8 reveals three main things that is worth talking about. These are the Beginning, the End and the Middle.
Despise not your Beginnings!
Although the end is better than the beginning, that better end can never be reached if there is no starting point. The starting point is the first step to reaching your desired end. It is said that a journey of thousand miles begins with a step. All the exciting things you see today have their beginning smaller than the end. This means that you must have a starting point in everything that you intend to achieve in life.
There are references in the Bible. David started as a shepherd, but he became a king at the end of his life. Joseph started as a slave in Potiphar’s house but later became a prime minister of Egypt. Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ had a humble beginning of being born in a manger.
Now, no matter how small your beginning may be, you have a promise of better future. You are therefore encouraged to recognize the value of small beginnings. Start with what you have as the year begins and like Jesus, despise not small beginnings. Instead, despise the shame of small beginnings.
Be Positive about your ‘ends’
God is more mindful about our future than our present and past. When the exiled Jews were released to rebuild the temple of God in Jerusalem during Dairus reign, those who had seen Solomon’s temple and its glory were sad because they felt it was in comparison, better than the one they had begun to build. God comforted them and said the latter glory of this house will be greater than the former one (Haggai 2:9). God promised peace about this house whereas to Solomon’s Temple, it was an answered prayer.
It is significant to point out that in God’s message of hope to the Israelites who were in captivity in Babylon, the Lord said, For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). In fact, life must be better at the end than the beginning. Your marriage must be more fulfilling in your old age than you begun. Your Christian life and ministry must be more fruitful at the end than you begun. Your education must be more successful at the end than you begun. In fact, even as you have life, you have hope of better future.
Maintain Focus in your ‘Middle’
Everything that has a beginning also has an end. But between the beginning and the end, there is also a period and a process. Sometimes it is not the beginning that is a problem or the end but the middle. That is why patience is needed. Many at times give up at this period. The middle period is not always pleasant. The middle period in Joseph’s life was the period between the sharing of his dream and his position of prime minister. That is his presence in the pit, slavery in Potiphar’s house and his imprisonment. Job’s middle period was his continuous, multiple afflictions. Your middle may be characterized by frustrations, disappointments, temptations and promise and fails. But here are some things that you can do to sustain you at this point:
Have a Vision and Focus and Maintain that Vision
Your vision is your future. It is the compass of your life. Without vision and focusing on it you will perish. Jesus had the end in mind that is why he was able to endure the cross (Hebrews 12:1). Vision begins with the indignation over the status quo, and it grows into the earnest quest of an alternative.
Have Faith and Positive Attitude
Faith is like a working flashlight, no matter how dark it gets it will help you to find your way. Have a positive attitude and never say it is impossible. Egypt, the cradle of civilization was also the first to develop the act of writing using symbols known as hieroglyphics. The word “impossible” in the Egyptian hieroglyphics is a symbol of a man walking on water. To them it was impossible for a man to walk on water without sinking and for that matter this symbol symbolized that. You know what? Jesus in over 2000 years ago defiled that “word” including his disciple Peter by walking on water.
Persevere to the Desired End
Although there are many resistances in the middle, but note that persistence breaks down resistance. In the controversy between the river and the rock, the river emerges the winner not because of strength but because of perseverance. Your ability to persevere is an indication that you are on your road to successful end.
Another characteristic thing to do as we find ourselves in the middle is gratitude. Zoe M. Hicks sees gratitude as a powerful force that attracts more of what we are grateful for to ourselves. Our lives should be full of gratitude if we believe God is for us. The law of God’s Kingdom is progress. He turns evil to serve good.
Gratitude acknowledges what God has done and says, “Thank You.” As we gratefully remember what God has done in the past, we will have faith for the future. In fact, are to thank God for answers to our prayers even before we see them based on His past records. We have to be grateful for all that God does for us every day and all that God is going to do for us and our love ones. We know he is going to keep doing these good things because of his nature. He is all powerful, he is good, and he loves us.
Have you ever thanked God for answering your prayers (the ones you believe are in his will for you and your beloved ones) before you see the answers? This is the way Jesus prayed when he raised Lazarus from the dead: Father, I thank you that you have heard me” (John 11:41-42). He prayed. The confidence he expressed in his father before he saw his prayer answered was amazing. No wonder Lazarus came walking out.
Conclusion and Reflections
Seeing your glorious future and possessing it forms the basis of this article. It is connected to developing a Godward vision and achieving it. It has thrown light on the motivation that the fact of history, and God’s nature should serve as a resource for developing a mental picture of your significant living. The philosophy here is that one’s vision serves as a guide to making impact. Where vision can be defined as an act of seeing, of course an imaginative perception of things combining insight and foresight. It has the idea of deep dissatisfaction with what is and a clear grasp of what could be. May God help you to see and possess your glorious future as we enter into 2016.
May God bless you, by Rev. John Kwasi Fosu (www.revfosu.com)
Wishing you glorious 2016