“We don't know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future.” We grew up hearing that truism because it's true. As the pointy-eared, wrinkly, green sage of Star Wars said, "Always in motion; the future is." I must tender Yoda an, "Amen."
The future's not what it was. And it's blooming hard to pin down. It's never what we imagine. If you heard 10 years ago you'd be living where you are now, working your current job and married to your particular spouse, you'd probably laugh. "How do you keep a good attitude when you have no clue what's going to happen down the road?" I'm so glad you asked!
Unpredictable as the future is, according to the Hebrew Scriptures, it is humming with hope.
For Jeremiah, future and hope are inextricably intertwined. Isaiah saw the morrow brimming with possibility when he said, "Eye has not seen, no ear hath heard, nor have entered into the heart of man mind the things which God has prepared for those who love Him" (1 Corinthians 2:9, NKJV). Zechariah said, "Turn to the strongholds, ye prisoners of hope: even today do I declare that I will restore double unto thee" (Zechariah 9:12). Your trouble may double today, but you'll get double for your trouble tomorrow.
These Hebrew seers had amazing attitudes about the future because the God of hope is in the business of doing "glory to glory" not “glory to gory.”
The Bible promises the path of the just gets brighter and brighter, so hitch a grin onto your lips bright as an upside down rainbow in the face of the unknown!
I'll allow that tomorrow is mysterious.
Why, it's as unpredictable as quantum mechanics! Werner Heisenberg was the Nobel Prize winning physicist who drafted up The Uncertainty Principle, which states that you cannot precisely predict both the position and momentum of a quantum particle at the same time. Why? Sometimes matter acts like a particle: It's in one place at one time. Other times, matter acts like a wave: It appears to be in several places at the same time. One's ability to predict momentum and position simultaneously is precluded by the particle's duality.
So too, God has an uncertainty principle. There's always an element of surprise with the Lord. Paul wrote that it hasn't even entered into the minds of men what God is going to do next. Jesus said the Spirit is like the wind: You don't know where He came from or where He's going. As Mark Batterson said, "But maybe faith has less to do with gaining knowledge and more to do with causing wonder.” The Lord loves to see His kids "surprised by joy."
Have a better attitude about surprise. How boring it would be if the plot line in the story of our life was predictable. The "Author of Faith," who has "all my days written in His book," is too good a storyteller to be predictable! There's always more in store. Which reminds me! God is a lot like fractal geometry.
In fractal geometry, some shapes - such as clouds, snowflakes and coastlines - contain infinite complexity. When you magnify said shape, you discover even greater detail ad infinitum. Just when you thought you discovered its proportions, there's always more deeps to plumb. Do like David and "magnify the Lord," and you'll find there's always more detail to Him than you suspected. Just when you thought you had God figured out, He surprises you. Theologians call this the incomprehensibility of God. To employ and deploy the words of the Old Testament: "...His greatness is unsearchable" (Psalm 145:3).
Magnifying the Lord is germane to maintaining a joyous attitude in the face of the unknown.
What you focus on you follow, and what you focus on expands. When you put the magnifying glass of your soul up to the God of hope, you will look at your problems through the other end of the lens and thereby minimize your plight. Caleb and Joshua magnified God and His promise, when they scoped out the Promised Land, they minimized the Anakim giants to be so small that Caleb said, "They are but bread for us." Whereas the other 10 spies magnified their giants and their problems and minimized their God and His Promise until they whined, "We are but grasshoppers in their sight."
Caleb and Joshua waltzed into the Promised Land, whereas the others were barred because the latter's hopelessness about a problem was a bigger problem than their problem. They failed to realize that when their problem was too big for them, it was just the right size for God. As Captain Jack Sparrow would say, "The problem is not the problem; the problem is your attitude about the problem." Joshua and Caleb have names immortal, whereas the other 10 spies have "names in water writ" because they had horrible attitudes.
Attitude determines altitude. It's a small thing that makes a big difference. Have beatitude, not a do-attitude (we are human beings not human doings) and declare over your soul, "You are too blessed to be stressed!" Indeed, a bad attitude is like a flat tire; you can't go anywhere till you change it.
Attitude, according to one study, is why Olympic bronze medalists are quantifiably happier than silver medalists. Silver medalists can only focus on how close they came to gold, whereas bronze medalists realize how close they came to not getting a medal at all and are simply thankful to be on the stand!
An adjustment in attitude goes a long way.
At the turn of the twentieth-century, Alfred Adler conducted a study in which he reported 70% of art students had optical anomalies, and great composers such as Beethoven and Mozart suffered degeneration in the ear. They were strongest in the area of their weakness. Paul himself heard Jesus say, "...My strength is made perfect in your weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9). In epic Homeric fashion he declared, "When I am weak, then I am strong."
We can always blame our bad attitude on some perceived weakness. Jeremiah thought he was too young. "Ah Lord God, behold, I cannot speak for I am a youth." But 12-year-old Jesus saw that same youthfulness as a chance to be a child prodigy! Sarah thought she was too old to have a baby. Caleb whipped out his geezer stick and fought giants at 85 as if to say, "I might have snow on the rooftop, but I've got it in the furnace! As long as I've got a pulse, I've got a purpose. No beachside condo in Galilee for me! I want Hebron where the Anakim are!"
While we may be subject to age deficiencies or optical anomalies, principles of uncertainty or infinite complexity, we're going to have a GRATITUDE ATTITUDE. In the words of Abe Lincoln, "We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses." We're not going to see the obstacle in the opportunity, but the opportunity in the obstacle. We're going to magnify the promise and minimize the problem!
God has been faithful in the past, which causes us to be faith-filled about the future and fulfilled today. Magnify the greatness of God, rather than your gigantic giants and your ear degeneration. Anakim giants and thorn-in-the-flesh weaknesses actually occasion a more quantifiable happiness.
Don't complain because you don't know what the future holds; rejoice because you know who holds the future.