SOMETIMES the future seems scary. There are predictions that the environment will be greatly degraded, the planet will be ever more crowded, good jobs will be hard to find and to keep, and an aging population will be relying on a much smaller young population to support it. Meanwhile, the usual political and social instabilities will continue unabated.
If this view of things were really unavoidable, we'd have little good to look forward to! But there is something we can do about the future--whether our own or that of the world at large--and it's something we can do now.
In Miscellaneous Writings, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, has a short article called ``Improve Your Time.'' In it she says, ``Success in life depends upon persistent effort, upon the improvement of moments more than upon any other one thing.'' She adds a bit later, ``If one would be successful in the future, let him make the most of the present'' (p. 230).
And the best model for how to ``make the most of the present'' is Christ Jesus, whose trust in God enabled him to help others as well as to overcome his enemies. His teachings make clear that a stable future is the outgrowth of a solid relation to God in the present. He said, ``I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me'' (John 5:30). So the key to evaluating both the present and the future is to be willing to do God's will and let that be our guide.
Sometimes people believe that doing God's will must necessarily be nasty and joyless. But this isn't the God that Christ Jesus knew and loved. Through Jesus' ministry we can discover not only that God is faithful, but also that He is our all-loving Father. In addition, the Bible tells us that man is spiritual, made in the divine likeness. This means that we don't need to fear the material view of creation or feelings of decline and decay that may be coming to us. Since we actually are spiritual, not one of these matter-based claims is true now, and they won't suddenly become true in the future.
Instead, we express spiritual qualities that never age, decay, or run out because their source is God. Nor do they go out of fashion! Can you think of a future, for example, in which intelligence will not be needed? Or one where purity and love will not be valued? Where truth will not be essential?
When we look at the present and the future from this spiritual standpoint, we find that the great necessity is to become clearer about our spiritual attributes and more certain of their undying source in God. Then, no matter what we face, now or later, we will have everything we need.
How can we better understand our spirituality? First, by examining our thoughts and seeing how often we are accepting negatives--anger, frustration, rejection, the cherishing of past hurts or disappointments, and the like --as our own thinking. Unless we recognize that these are not our thinking, they would darken our lives by weighing down our sense of God's ever-present love.
We brighten our present and uplift our future when we give up such sinful feelings. As ideas of God, we cannot possibly harbor mortal, or carnal, drives. Instead, we fully express the nature of God, of Life, Truth, and Love. By filling our thoughts with the goodness and the genuine love for our fellow beings that God gives us, we begin to change our direction into a more hopeful future. But even more than this, as we cultivate a closer relation to God, we gain new inspiration and strength to face whatever challenges may be coming to us or to society. By alertly praying to see everyone as having a spiritual basis for existence and as being cherished of God, we also uplift the prospects for others. Then our present efforts at spirituality will naturally prepare the way for future growth Spiritward in the care of an all-loving God.
BIBLE VERSE Grace be unto you, and peace. Revelation 1:4