– Philip Yancey
I like to think of prophecy as being history that’s written ahead of time and that’s why we can trust God in advance but it will only make sense to us as we see it unfold in reverse. One example would be when the Messiah (Jesus) was foretold to be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; Matt 1:23). To the world, this makes absolutely no sense but to those who are saved, it is the fulfillment of God’s promise, long ago, to Abraham where all nations would be blessed by his seed and that is found in Genesis 22:18 where God tells Abram (later changed to Abraham) “in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice” and this was confirmed that the “seed” that would bless the whole world by making salvation possible is Jesus Christ, a descendent of Abraham (Matt 1:1).
History is “His” story and determined by God before the earth existed (Eph 1) so we can trust our future and the end times as being in God’s hands for He is the Author of history and history is “his story” written in advance but determined by God and who can change what God has decreed? Isaiah 14:27 says exactly that; “the LORD of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?”
Can’t we trust a God Who holds all things in His hands and nothing happens without His express purpose to will it to be so? When Jesus sent the disciples across the sea, He knew full well that a storm would be coming. When Jesus went with them and slept in the boat, “there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep” (Matt 8:24). When the disciples cried out in fear, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing” (Matt 8:25) Jesus said “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm” (Matt 8:26). God might allow us to pass through the storms but He will go with us through the storms, just as He did the disciples and only He can calm the storm so our reaction should be like that of the disciples who said “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him” (Matt 8:27)?
Just try to wrap your mind around the fact that “we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Eph 1:11) and when you and I “heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit” (Eph 1:13) and this, “is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory” (Eph 1:14). We can trust a God that foreordains things and then ensures that they come to pass.
Philip Yancey put it well when he said that faith means trusting in advance what will only make sense in reverse so we must learn to see prophecy as being a sure thing; we must have faith in His sovereignty in all things; we must trust that all things will work out for our best (Rom 8:28); and we must trust that God has already purposed in His heart what will be and that we are part of His divine purposes that will extend into all eternity.