Life is frightening. There is a question that is consistently asked throughout our lives: “What do you want to do in the future?” We are constantly reminded of our need to plan for the future, encouraged to seek our best dreams of what could be, and bombarded by anxiety from warnings of the danger ahead.
Truth be told, the future is uncertain. It’s not created yet. All that lies before us is potential that arises from the present circumstances. It is the potential of strife and struggle against becoming obsolete or redundant along with the possibilities of innovation and success. On a day to day level, we are stuck between security and insecurity of having enough for tomorrow. For as much as we believe that time is mechanical, moving through the same, predictable cycles, and holding our security steady, we must be honest with ourselves. Time is not as much mechanical as it is agricultural. Each day is not mechanically predictable, but instead they each bring their own unique circumstances, challenges, blessings, and enjoyments. Some days the skies give enough sun and rain, the ground is fertile, and our crops grow. Some days the skies give us scorching sun or flooding rain and all our efforts are either washed away or left as husks. We want to be in control, and we do control what we can. We plant, we work, we invest, we maintain. But we cannot control our entire environment. Other people act for or against us, situations are favorable or foreboding, and by some grand mixture of our own efforts and the situations that surround us the future may be abundant or barren.
Well, now I understand why the teacher in Ecclesiastes speaks the refrain “Meaningless, meaningless, everything is meaningless and a chasing after the wind.”
Imagine standing, as Abram, on a hill overlooking the produce of your work, the work of your laborers, your animals, and the produce of the land that you helped tend. In the midst of this success, there is still stress about the future. All is good. Sure, there have been good days and bad days, but the scales have tipped toward success.
– And then God speaks –