I’ve been working on a newsletter at work, for which I needed to write about a word related to planning for the future. Well DUH, what better word to focus on than the word “future?” My thoughts, however, wandered, and I wrote:
There is a saying in English, “Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.”
When you stop to think about it, today is the future dream of someone’s yesterday. At first, as children, the future is a simple tomorrow filled with possibilities. With maturation, the future includes plans—small and great. However, with age, we begin to think about the legacy we will leave behind. Yet through it all, we live and breathe only for today.
In the light of today, how do we Biblically relate to the future? I began looking at the word “future” in scripture and made a discovery: the word I am used to using most frequently in Hebrew, “atid” is actually an adjective. The noun form is “acharit”—which probably means nothing to you at all unless you happen to be familiar with the Hebrew for Jeremiah 29:11.
‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future (acharit) and a hope (tikvah).’
I discovered that there is far more to acharit (אַחֲרִית) than just looking ahead. It implies having posterity, offspring, or a remnant.
As I pondered this I realized that the word order is important as well. If I have hope and a future, the implications are that I hope for what will be. But based on what? I don’t know. That is what much of the hope in the world is like. Hoping for something better, anything better. But it is a hope without foundations.
However, when I say a future (implying fruitfulness—much more than survival) and a hope, the message is this: Because I have a future, I can have an expectant hope based on what I know will be.
And that is the hope we have as believers in Jesus. A hope that will not disappoint us because it is built on a solid foundation through faith in Messiah Yeshua (Jesus).
Looking more deeply at Jeremiah 29:11, I realized that this beautiful word, acharit, combined with hope looks forward to a good ending. And that reminded me of a new prayer of my life that began when I turned 50. As I looked back and considered what was ahead, I prayed with increasing frequency, “Lord, let my ending be better than my beginning.”
Later, after I’d married Rich, I recall praying a similar prayer shortly before he died, “Lord, for Rich and me, let our ending be better than our beginning.” (I share more about this in my book.)
I had absolutely no idea how soon Rich’s ending in this world would be.
I am brought full circle as I consider just what the “future” is in God’s eyes. How does His future fit with something that will not disappoint? I think it comes by realizing that our end of the story is not God’s end of the story. Even the heaven that we think of now, where God dwells, is not the end of His story. There is a new heaven and a new earth coming, where all those who are His will reign for eternity.
This is a future to get excited about, a future to build for in the here and now. Why? Because Jesus promised that future to me, and He has never lied. Our loved ones who loved Jesus are already experiencing the first stage of that expectant and bright future. Soon, oh may it be soon, we will join them with the Lord—forever.
How do we build for it? I have a feeling that will be a different blog topic—or you can beat me to it and begin by reading 2 Corinthians 5:1-10.
For now, I am certain that you, like me, struggle with the world’s definition of preparing for the future: insurance, medical care, retirement, bills, family, and more. May these thoughts be an encouragement—to place your hope in the future that is eternal and that no man can take from us. Truly, more that we realize, that is the only future that matters.
If you are not sure about your eternal future, or honestly don’t know what I’m talking about, please feel free to write to me. I’d love to discuss these things with you.