The God of My Future Problems

What will 2001 bring? No one knows but God. Eight years ago I wrote the following column and called it “My Most Important Spiritual Discovery of 1992.” It seems worth repeating as we stand on the brink of a new year. It happened not long after I returned from Belize in October. While rummaging through an accumulated mountain of mail, I came across an article about “the prevenient grace of God.” The phrase-which was new to me-refers to “the grace that goes before.” Here’s a working definition: “In every situation of life God is already at work before I get there. He is working creatively, strategically and redemptively for my good and his glory.”

Wow! So many times I tend to limit my thinking to the fact that God’s presence goes with me as I go through life. That’s true, but it’s only part of the story. He’s not only with me now, he’s already way up the road ahead of me.

Think about it this way: While I am struggling with the problems of today, God is hard at work providing solutions for the things I am going to face tomorrow. He’s already there, working creatively in situations I have yet to face, preparing them for me and me for them.

Or to say it another way: While I’m living in Tuesday, he’s clearing the road for me on Friday. That’s what Proverbs 3:6 means when it says that “He will make your paths straight.”

Or to say it yet another way: God is already at work providing solutions for problems I don’t even know I have yet! That blows my mind.

Are you worried about next week? Forget it. He’s already there. How about next year? Don’t sweat it. He’s already there. What about that crucial meeting next week? Sleep well. He’s already there. What about that tough decision that looms ahead of you? Fear not. He’s already there.

It would be enough if God simply walked with you through the events of life. But he does much more than that. He goes ahead of you, clearing the way, arranging the details of life, so that when you get there, you can have confidence that God has already been there before you.

That’s the prevenient grace of God. He goes before his people. He’s at work in the future while we live in the present. With that encouraging thought, I wish you and yours a very happy new year.

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