Friday, May 15, 2015

Why You Should Believe in a Good Future

Image: Fresco by Fra Angelico. Source: wikipedia.

When you think about your future, do you see things working out in your favour? Do you see yourself happy, successful and your dreams being fulfilled? Or do you automatically expect that life will be tough, you will struggle, and maybe - just maybe - if you are lucky you might have something good happen to you?
If you are the second type (or maybe you're just curious), read on to see why I believe you should always expect a good future.

The Christian Teaching
I was visiting Cleveland, Ohio last month, and attended the Easter service at the Church of the Saviour. The sermon was given by Dr. Charles D. Yoost. Even though he has a fearful preaching style, I was able to get something very positive out of his sermon.

He was saying that, in Easter morning the 2 Marys decided go to the tomb (where Jesus had been taken after his death on the cross) to perform some customary rituals on His dead body. And as they walked, they wondered "who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?" But when they got there, they found that the stone had already been rolled out (Mark 16:1-4). Dr. Yoost used that passage to demonstrate the principle that God is always one step ahead of us.
He said: if you lost someone you love, God has already placed loving friends amongst you to comfort you. If you lost your job, God has already prepared something better for you and you will find it soon.
I believe Dr. Yoost's point was that you must trust God because He has already found a solution to your problems, He has already prepared your healing, He has already provided the comfort you need, etc.

That reminded me of Andrew Wommack's teaching about "A Place Called 'There'". Andrew talks about 1 Kings 17:2-4, where God tells Elijah to go to the Cherith brook, because He has commanded some ravens to bring food to Elijah over there. Andrew emphasizes that God had commanded the ravens to bring food there (at the brook), not here (where Elijah was at the moment). The point Andrew makes is that if we would just trust God and obey His direction (ie, follow our Intuition) there will be good things waiting for us in the future.

I would go one step further and also look at the verb tense in that passage (verse 4): God says "I have commanded the ravens to feed you there". He didn't say "go there and then I will command the ravens". That means God had already orchestrated the provision of food in Elija's future. 
Therefore, I interpret that passage as saying: trust in God, because He has already prepared something good for you in the future.

Andrew mentions another passage (1 Kings 17:8-9), where God again tells Elijah to go to a specific place, because there will be something good waiting for him there: “And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee”. Once again, notice the verb tense: I have commanded. God had already commanded the woman to help Elijah. The provision was already there.

Back to the passage mentioned in Dr Yoost's sermon, I see it in a similar light: God commanded the 2 Marys (via the Holy Spirit/Intuition) to go take care of Jesus' body. And before they even got there, He had already used an earthquake and an Angel (Matthew 28:2) to open the tomb. I interpret that as another example of God having already prepared something good in our future.

I'm going to guess that there are at least a few other passages in the Bible that also have a similar message (I don't know the Bible well enough yet to make a firmer, more detailed statement).

What is that teaching telling us?

In non-Christian words, that teaching is saying that we should trust that the future will be good, and it will be.
We see that principle being taught by believers of The Secret/Law of Attraction as well. They advise you to believe and expect that your desires will come true, because whatever you expect is what becomes true.
I am willing to bet that many other religions and spiritual belief systems also teach the same principle: trust that your future will be good, and it will be. 

Why is that teaching important? 

I see 2 reasons:  
1) It gives you peace.
2) You get into a virtuous cycle of positive thinking.

Getting some Peace
If you trust that the future will be good, you will consequently let go of your fears and worries, which will bring you inner peace. When you have inner peace, you are able to cope better with whatever comes your way (whether it is actually good or not).

The Virtuous Cycle of Positive Thinking
When you have inner peace, it's easier to get into a positive mindset and consequently to keep on trusting that the future will be good.
Once you break the inertia of fear/negativity/not expecting a good future, it becomes a virtuous cycle: you trust that your future will be good; that gives you inner peace; your inner peace helps you stay positive and keep trusting that the future will be good.
Of course that trust requires constant feeding/practice, but in my experience, the more you do it, the easier it gets (that's what psychology calls Learned Optimism).


It might be hard for you to believe in this principle just for the sake of believing (even when it is backed up by Scripture or pseudoscience). I think that's why so many people shy away from religion nowadays.
But it makes sense to believe in that principle, from the standpoint of mental health: your emotional life will be better if you believe in it. You will be happier if you believe in a good future. 
Therefore, I recommend following that principle, not because "it's what the Bible says", but because it is a healthy frame of mind to be in.

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