"Dad, can I have that box?"
"I don't know. I just want it to do something."
"What do you want to do?"
"I want to make something out of it."
"What do you want to make? Maybe I can help."
"Well, I don't know what I want to make, so I'm just collecting stuff to get ready for making something."
"Here, take it. And, there are two more in the garage that you can have."
Two hours later:
"Where did you get all those boxes?"
It never crossed my mind that I was breaking a parental rule: Never ask a question that you really don't want to know the answer to.
"I just went around collecting."
"Do you know what you are going to make?"
"Not yet, but when I know, I'll be ready!"
It is natural for us to want to know what the future holds. We want to know where we will be in 10 years, what the market will be like, who we will marry, what our kids will grow up to be and so on.
Of course, there are some things that are better left unknown.
I have found that what usually sets successful people apart from the rest is not that they know the future, but that they are ready for it.
How do we get ready for God's future?
This has been my prayer for the past month. How do we prepare for the future plans of God? I keep going back to an obvious text for many, Jeremiah 29:11: "I know the plans I have for you ... plans to give you a hope and a future (NIV)."
The Lord spoke into my spirit the simple matter of being ready for his plan even when I don't know what it will be. That takes faith, which also pleases God.
Successful people know how to plan for what they don't know. They know how to be a designated hitter or runner when the skipper yells "Hey No. 14, you're up.
They rise ready, trained, unencumbered and tuned and they understand the times.
Here is a prayer I use when praying for my unknown future. You can call it my "what-I-don't-know" prayer:
1. Lord, I don't know what the future holds but I will trust you.
2. Lord, I don't know when I will be called on, so help me to be found ready when you call with ears to hear and heart to receive your word.
3. Lord, I don't know how you will use me to fulfill your will, so help me to develop the necessary gifting that I will need.
So, I ask my 9-year-old again, "What are you going to build?"
"I don't know, but when I do, I'll be ready!"
Jim Duncan is senior pastor of the Peninsula Christian Center on Kenai Spur Highway, two blocks from the Soldotna "Y." Sunday services are at 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.
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