I have always taken comfort in the future. What I mean is that I’ve always been preparing for something, and that made me feel secure because I knew where I was going, which in turn gave me a sense of control, which in turn made me feel comfortable.
For example, when I was at the Air Force Academy, I knew I was going into the Air Force. And when I was in the Air Force and going to grad school, I knew I was eventually getting out and going into a business career. And when I was dating Anna, I knew I was eventually going to get married. And when she finished grad school, I knew we were eventually going to leave Los Angeles.
It hasn’t been all that different in my spiritual life. I went through a phase of teaching where I felt like that would be what I would do for God’s kingdom, and I finally felt secure with my place in the Kingdom. Until I went into my evangelism phase. And then my homeless ministry phase. And now I wonder if it’ll be the same with writing.
You’d think by now that I would stop trying to gain so much comfort from what I think my future will hold. And I think I’m starting to do so. It’s not because I’m finally embracing Biblical counsel on the matter; it’s because this sense of security is a phantom—it never satisfies.
I suppose this is why James would encourage me: “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”
I think my failure to ultimately find comfort in the future was my failure to embrace my mist-ness. Which is really a failure to embrace my place in the Kingdom—that of an obedient servant. Which is why James follows his encouragement with this: “Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’”
I think this is why we shouldn’t ever seek comfort in considering our future. Hope is for the future; comfort is for today. And the way to have both is the same: faith in a God who has promised good for our future, and faith in a God who has promised to take care of us today. Anything short of that will never satisfy.