We are grateful to kick off 2012 posts with the wisdom and spiritual leading from homeschool dad Clay Clarkson …
One thing is certain about uncertain times—they make us think about the future. The future is by definition uncertain, and yet when the present is challenging we will naturally long for better days. Hope, deliverance, redemption, and restoration are in our spiritual DNA.
As we sludge through a slough of economic demise, our future as Americans, and as homeschooling families, is uncertain. But, how we face that future will define who we are and who our children will become. Longing for the past will not prepare us for an uncertain future. God has always been a God of “new things.”
After the northern kingdom of Israel fell to the Assyrians in 722 B.C., the southern kingdom of Judah was both vulnerable and spiritually corrupt. For decades, the prophet Isaiah warned the people of God’s judgment, and that they would eventually meet the same fate of their northern kinsmen.
That would take another century, but Isaiah’s words recorded in the first thrity-nine chapters would certainly be unsettling for the people of Judah as Babylon rose to power. But Isaiah went beyond words that painted only a very uncertain future. In the final twenty-seven chapters of his book he provided the hope.
He reminds them over and over who God is, what he is like, and what he has done and will do for his people. He assures them that God will deliver and restore: “Behold, the former things have come to pass, now I declare new things…I proclaim to you new things from this time, even hidden things which you have not known” (Isaiah 42:9, 48:6b, NASB).
There is a hint of stoicism and even fatalism in the idea of “facing the future.” If we lived in 526 B.C. Judah some negativity could be forgiven, but I wonder if we inadvertently slip into a modern fatalism with the future we must face in 2012 America. We determine we will survive the future, but we don’t welcome it and engage it. We face it, but we don’t faith it.
If God is still the same Creator that Isaiah describes and defends, then he is still doing “new things.” God sees the past as passed (or prologue) and the future as the canvas of the new picture of reality he is going to paint through the lives of his faithful people. He is alive, real, acting, renewing, moving, and that is why we have hope.
“Faithing the future” is as simple as acknowledging in your spirit, words, and actions that the redeeming God is still doing new things. As a parent, it is living in your home as though you really do believe that God is as “living and active” (Hebrews 4:12) as his Word that you study and quote.
When you faith the future, your children will follow your example. They will choose to look ahead, not with uncertainty but with anticipation of the new things that God is going to do. When God is in the picture, faithing the future is the best way to face the future.
Clay Clarkson is the Executive Director of Whole Heart Ministries, a Christian home and parenting ministry he and Sally founded in 1994 from a 70 year-old farmhouse in central Texas. Clay is the author of several books, including Educating the WholeHearted Child (now in its Third Edition), Our 24 Family Ways, and Heartfelt Discipline. He and Sally have four children, all homeschooled from birth and now graduated. They live in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Monument, CO, where Sally also writes, blogs on ITakeJoy.com, and directs Mom Heart Ministry.