Two times in the last few months the world was supposed to end, yet here we are. Many experts predicted the St. Louis Cardinals would win the World Series, and they are now wrong. Our economic policy was supposed to create so many jobs, yet unemployment is fairly stable. Many people warned you that if you kept eating all that ice cream you would get sick and fat. Nope. Feeling good.
People think they know the future, yet humans are horrible at predictions.
I recently read a book about forecasting and how it’s pretty much hopeless. Yes, there are certain things that are more predictable than others, but in general, we have no idea what’s going to happen. And, the more we have invested in tomorrow, the more emotionally involved we are, the poorer we are at predicting.
However, this book also pointed out that when something happens tomorrow, your brain will tell you, “See! I knew that was going to happen! I told you that would happen!”
Actually, it didn’t, it just feels like it did because at some point, yeah, your brain probably flitted by the possibilities and one of them, inevitably, did happen. That’s a long way off from knowing what was going to happen. We think we’re better at predicting than we are.
Every day the internet is hot with some new outrage or scandal. People pontificate as to why this happened, or what this means for the future. Some famous person overdoses on drugs and we “knew this was going to happen” to them because of that one thing they said, or because it “always happens” to famous people.
See, that’s what you get! I told you so!
Yet we’re usually massively wrong.
Christians major in this stuff. We always know why disaster happens to people. We always know who is going to “get it.”
Job is in the Bible for a reason. Job’s friends thought they knew why Job’s life was falling apart. They knew if Job fessed up to his sin, his future would turn around. Job’s friends were wrong.
Christians make great Job’s friends. We know everything. We know why bad things happen to good people and to bad people.
Christians also have this amazing ability to take people at their word. Some guy says he accepted Christ as his Savior and we prop him up to speak to people and brag about our new convert. Four months later the guy is living in rampant evil and has turned on Christ and his Christian buddies.
What happened is that we attempted to predict the future. Time has a way of bearing out facts. Salvation is more about today than what you said yesterday. Forget those things that are behind and press toward the mark. Yet we keep telling kids they are saved cuz of that one thing they did that one time.
A person has to be patient to work with time. Patience is a rare commodity. We have to get the story out, get our take written and published. We have to pontificate and then move on to the next scandal we predicted.
Impatience does two horrible things:
- It makes us unfairly judge people while keeping us self-righteous. We pat ourselves on the back that those bad things didn’t happen to us, now did they! We celebrate how those we disagreed with got what we told them they were going to get. We jump in throwing our judgments everywhere. Love? What’s that?
- It makes us too confident in what we know today. We assume our side is right and will skate through life free of turmoil, scandal, backsliding, apostasy, or whatever other evil thing we determine is for other people. We celebrate our stand, not realizing we’re standing on thin ice.
In general, people should shush. We don’t know what tomorrow brings. All your confident boasting can come back to bite ya. All our self-righteous judgments can be completely wrong. Pride goes before a fall. It’s not whether you start, but how you finish. Hold fast to the end.
We don’t know what we’re talking about when it comes to the future. Take care of your today, it has enough evil to deal with. If not dealt with properly today, it can drastically change your tomorrow.
Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.