I recently heard a well-respected sociologist discuss the future of the Jewish people. Armed with charts and statistics, with important studies funded by prestigious grants, he gave us his view of what's to come. He was a bright, thoughtful man and it was an interesting presentation.
Of course everyone in the audience wanted to know his predictions. We all share some anxiety about the future of our nation. Wouldn't it be nice to have some certainty? Although the lecturer could project particular results if the trends continue as they are, he actually stopped short of predicting too far ahead. His rationale: too much can change, there are too many variables.
He is correct. The future is unpredictable. No one could have foreseen the fall of the Berlin Wall, the absolute disintegration of the former Soviet Union, the dissolution of Arthur Andersen, 9/11... Not the economists, not the political scientists, not the "psychics." As my husband says, "If they're really psychic, why aren't they making a fortune in the stock market?"
And no one would have predicted the continued growth and strength of our people and our connection to our roots. Why is this? Why do all our graphs and surveys fail us? Why do they do nothing to allay our concerns and anxieties? Why don't they promote greater certainty and peace of mind? Is it failure of imagination?
Without God, all is anxiety and uncertainty. With the Almighty, anything is possible, and all will be good.
Mostly it is the limitation of being human and the failure to factor God into the equation. Without God, all is anxiety and uncertainty. With the Almighty, anything is possible, and all will be good. The future is unpredictable because the Almighty runs the world. And He can change the future in a second – our personal future, our national future, our global future. Without any control groups or fellowships!
Of course it's still our obligation to look for alarming trends in our community and society, and take the proper course of action to prevent disasters. But the ultimate future of the world is undeterminable.
We spend a lot of time worrying about what will be possibly neglecting what is. We worry about nuclear catastrophes and forget to think about the elderly woman next door. We march against global warming and don't visit our sick great-aunt. We protest pollution and don't have time to accompany the dead. We are vehemently anti-war and not speaking to a close relative.
We spend too much time on big worries for the future, and too little on the small kindnesses of the present. We really can relax. The future is in the Almighty's hands. He has always taken care of His people and He always will. We need to worry about our actions today. And the y axis and x axis can't help us there.