A Window into Life in the Suburbs

"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these." Luke 12:27 (NIV)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I Don't Know About Tomorrow

Growing up in Singapore, I remember being fascinated by street vendors or vendors that set up makeshift stalls alongside the wet markets. It was a feature of the city-state that I was very fond of until they were gradually phased out for reasons of sanitation. At least that was what I was told. I also loved the old nut hawkers that used to frequent the cinemas... 10 cents for a cone (made from paper) of nuts was a treat in those days. He had quite an assortment of dried nuts to choose from.

I also recall the roving fortune teller, in the old days, who had his little makeshift, square table and a tubular container full of divining sticks taking a prominent position on it. A paying customer would come along, pose a query, give the container a good shake with the expectation that a single stick favourable to the concerns of the inquirer will tumble out of the container. Each stick has a number which corresponds with a particular answer. The fortune teller/interpreter may consult his trusty almanac of poetic stories and phrases to offer up an answer to his anxious customer.

Human beings are, undoubtedly, anxious about the future wherever they come from so it should be no surprise that throughout history, they have devised a vast array of instruments and methods to divine the will of the gods.
Coward that I am, I'm not sure I really want to know, quite frankly. If I wasn't a God believer in the Christian vein, I'd be more nervous about knowing the future than not knowing. Will my knowing the future bring about its fulfillment? Will my not knowing do the same anyway? And when I know what I know, can I affect change? What if we ended up bringing about a kind of Sophoclean, Macbethean paradox?

Some days I think about the future a lot... some days I don't think about it at all. Some days I think... "Hurry up and grow up girls so I can make a start on that novel that I'm always talking about." Other days, I'm sufficiently overwhelmed by the present that I'd rather just stay inside the hovel that I call my house.

Years ago I heard a pastor say that the question that many young people ask him is how they can know God's will. Well, having spent a fair bit of time with young Christians and new Christians I can concur.
You know, I get it. We're all afraid of making mistakes. We want to be sure that Mr X is Mr Right and Miss Y doesn't turn out to be an axe murderer.

Do you find yourself looking for signs from heaven? Along the lines of Gideon's fleeces, that is. Or do we make bargains with God? Do we try and do interpretive gymnastics with the Bible to make it fit our circumstances? Or torture the verses to fit in with our own agenda?

We are all guilty of treating the Bible as some kind of book of divination at some point in our lives. We are superstitious creatures afterall and somehow we need some external affirmation that we are on the right track.

However, after being around myself for years, I have come to the conclusion that my greatest problem is obedience of what I already know is required of me.
The future, on the other hand, is the least of my worries...

1 comment:

  1. amen! our future is in the Lord's indeed :)

    it is interesting to know that we both have some similarities:
    - grew up in SG
    - family in Christ
    - living in QLD


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