Okay, I admit it. I've had an idea for months now that I'd write a piece dated 22 December, 2012, along the lines of, "I told you so!" - and I planned to announce today that "I've already written next week's post."
It was to be a light-hearted piece about the Mayan calendar on which more than a few prophets of doom have announced the world's end on the 21st. Personally, I don't give them that much credence, and I intended my post to reflect that thought.
The problem is, when I came to put fingers to keyboard, I realised that to be brutally honest, I don't know whether I'll draw another breath, and I can't say with a surety that I'll be around next week to even read the post.
And no, I'm not being macabre, and no, I have no intention of hastening my end, but I am being pragmatic. None of us can really guarantee we'll see another sunrise. Proverbs says we shouldn't boast about tomorrow, for who knows what might happen today.
The bible is full of prophecies, the veracity of which have been proven over hundreds of years. Looking back, it's remarkable how so many authors, separated by culture, nationality and centuries of time could give hints of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, with amazing accuracy.
And based on the same writings, most scholars agree that He will return, and there'll be some form of transition from the world we currently experience to a world that will look quite different. Where they differ is in interpreting the 'how' and the 'when' it's going to happen. We did after all survive Y2K.
One of the difficulties is that prophecy is written in picture language and is therefore not precise. Fortunately that doesn't confuse me as much as it used to. Jesus himself said we wouldn't know the hour or the day, but we could know the season. (And anyway, given how much they've added and deleted days from our own Gregorian calendar, I say good luck in trying to line up exact dates...)
So I needn't worry about the detail. If Christ's return - and the end of the age - is anything like his first appearance, I would expect it to look different to what I expect. It just adds to the intrigue...
And honestly, I plan to be around for some time to come. Although by the very act of living, my life is getting shorter, I have eternal hope. Personal prophecy suggests I have yet to fulfil all the plans that God has for me. And it's also true that peoples' actions can change the future - it's predestined not predetermined.
In the meantime, I can't afford to be so forward-focused that I forget to enjoy the present. But neither can I afford to bury my head in the sand hoping the future won't arrive, because it will. Proverbs also says "A prudent man foresees the evil and hides himself; The simple pass on and are punished."
Practically it looks like this: In the words of a good friend, I need to plan as though I'll be around forever - and I need to live to be ready to go at any time.
And to borrow the words of a song, I don't know what the future holds, but I do know who holds the future. And at the end of the day, any day, my confidence is in Him J