Posted by: rcottrill | November 5, 2018

If We Could See Beyond Today

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Words: (unknown author)
Music: Norman John Clayton (b. Jan. 22, 1903; d. Jan. 1, 1992)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Norman Clayton)
The Cyber Hymnal (Norman Clayton)
Hymnary.org (Norman Clayton)

Note: Norman Clayton was a church organist for five decades, and served as the accompanist for Jack Wyrtzen’s Word of Life rallies, in New York. He was also a writer and editor for a music publisher, and wrote both words and music for many fine songs, including Now I Belong to Jesus, My Hope Is in the Lord, and We Shall See His Lovely Face.

Fortune telling is big business. Many people crave the knowledge of what will happen in the future, to them, or to family members or friends. And, for a price, there are a host of people who claim they can find out for us–by holding seances, analyzing dreams, reading palms, using the stars, fortune cookies, tea leaves, magic boards, and more. They’re in the business of marketing hope–but it’s a counterfeit.

Skeptics of these supposed prognosticators abound. English professor and award-winning television host Bergen Evans (1904-1978) said fortune telling is the “naive selection of something that has happened from a mass of things that haven’t, the clever interpretation of ambiguities, or a brazen announcement of the inevitable.” Put more simply, fortune tellers are good guessers–but their guesses are more often wrong than right.

Yet people continue to hand over large amounts of cash, in the vain hope that maybe someone will know…something. It’s estimated that this is a two billion dollar-a-year business across North America. Most who claim psychic ability tell fortunes as a sideline. But there are some who do it full-time, and make their living at it.

There are some things that can be predicted as possible because they are statistical probabilities. This often applies to the vague pronouncements of fortune cookies. “You will receive some good news this week,” for example. And yes, that may well happen. But it’s far from a personal, detailed, and explicit prophecy. No one has a knowledge of the future to that degree.

As a Bible-believing Christian, let me suggest an exception to that. I do believe Satan and his host of demons have great power. And when fortune tellers invoke occult powers, they sometimes gain information beyond what is humanly available. However, God condemns this practice (Lev. 20:6), and we need to keep in mind that Satan’s ultimate goal is to deceive and destroy (Jn. 8:44; I Pet. 5:8). A recent television exposé on CTV’s W5 told of Jack who, ensnared by occult fortune tellers, lost his marriage, his job, his house and almost his sanity.

In terms of prophecy, the Word of God, the Almighty’s only written revelation to man, is in a class by itself. A God of truth (Deut. 32:4), who knows the end from the beginning (Isa. 46:9-10), has revealed about a thousand specific prophecies in the pages of Scripture. Half of them have already been fulfilled (many associated with Christ’s first coming), giving us confidence that the rest will be, in His good time.

God’s main purpose in Scripture is the revelation of His person, and of His saving work, through Christ. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3:16). “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).

But, though God knows all that will happen to each of us, the Bible does not contain such details. When the Lord Jesus revealed to Peter that he would one day die as a martyr, Peter asked, “But Lord, what about this man [John]?” Christ’s response was sharp, “What is that to you? You follow Me” (Jn. 21:21-22). God is not in the business of satisfying idle curiosity.

Further, He wants us to trust in Him, step by step, and knows that with explicit information about our future we’d have greater trouble doing that. We’d be more inclined to careless complacency, or sinful independence. There’s a hymn about that. Gospel song writer Norman Clayton took some thought provoking words by an unknown author, and wrote music for If We Could See Beyond Today. It begins:

1) If we could see beyond today
As God can see,
If all the clouds should roll away,
The shadows flee,
O’er present griefs we would not fret,
Each sorrow we would soon forget,
For many joys are waiting yet,
For you and me.

The second stanza assures us that “Someday life’s wrongs will be made right, faith tells us so.” Then, the last stanza says:

3) If we could see, if we could know,
We often say,
But God in love a veil doth throw
Across our way;
We cannot see what lies before,
And so we cling to Him the more:
He leads us till this life is o’er,
Trust and obey.

Questions:
1) Since we, as Christians, don’t know the details of our future, what should the result of this be today?

2) What things, as Christians, do we know, with certainty, about our future?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Norman Clayton)
The Cyber Hymnal (Norman Clayton)
Hymnary.org (Norman Clayton)


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