8th January 2019

A Clear Vision of the Future

“And the Lord smelled a soothing aroma. Then the Lord said in His heart, ‘I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.’”
Genesis 8:21 (NKJV UK)

Human beings tend to live in the immediate present, and yet it never ceases to amaze me that in the midst of the gloom and fury of midwinter, for example, already the promise of spring is right there with us. And you don’t have to search very hard either. Snowdrops quietly flower, and are quickly joined by crocuses in yellow and mauve. Other bulbs are already thrusting upwards with their promise of the yellow of daffodils and the varied colours of tulips to follow.

And these signs of life begin in mid-winter. What triggers it? Surely not temperature, because often we’re at our coldest. Nor the returning sun, because most bulbs are not only hidden in the earth, they’re also buried under leaf litter. The experts can no doubt tell us, but for me the strongest evidence remains the promise given by God in Genesis, that from then on the seasons would come in orderly progression, which apparently had not necessarily been the case since the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Eden. How would modern gardeners and farmers cope with that, I wonder?

But then we have the seasons reflected in religious terms too. Easter and Passover fall in the Hebrew month of “new shoots”. And although our Christian festivities culminate in Holy Week, the promise of their coming is already visible, spiritually speaking, from much earlier in the year.

It’s not just the bulbs which give us future vision, you see. As human beings we may well live in the present, with only clear sight into our past; but nature and our God always focus on the future and give us something concrete to focus on the way ahead. It’s a vision of the future tailored for our natures, and that always speaks of God.

Again, as human beings, our Christian lives are not really properly focused for us until and unless we are able to focus on our future. There may be nothing to indicate to us that God’s promises will happen, but they’re as sure as the bulbs flowering in Spring. And those promises to us, both in its spiritual intent and its physical, natural outcome, are not only sure, they’re guaranteed by God. By realising the one, we can grasp something of the second. The physical promises are all around us and can help us to see the reality of the spiritual promises made to us, to take hold of and focus our faith on them. And that’s very encouraging.

Gracious Father, most of us are blind to the cycle of nature in the year. We fail to see the clear signs of spring, and yet these can help us realise the reality of the promises you have made to us of a future with you. Open our eyes and help us gain a clear vision. In Jesus’ name we pray.

Study by John Stettaford

About the Author:
John Stettaford is an Elder in the Reading Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Reading
Prospect School, Room A1 (Main Building)
Honey End Lane
RG30 4EL

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11am

Local Congregational Contact:
John Stettaford
Phone: 01923-241426
Email: pastor@wcg-reading.org.uk

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