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December 31, 2021

It’s hard to look forward at what will be. I have always liked movies that begin with a flashforward revealing to the audience what will happen to the characters. And then, suddenly we, the viewer, gets jerked back into real-time knowing something about the characters’ future that they themselves do not know. The literary term is called dramatic irony. We know something that the character doesn’t.

I am writing these words and it’s not even Christmas yet. I’m giving you a peek behind the curtain, here. I am taking some vacation time out of the office to enjoy the Christmas holiday with my family. So, I took the opportunity to write this article a bit ahead of time. I’ll admit that it’s awkward writing for a future date! It’s hard to know what will be in the future when I am left in the dark and yet to experience it.

Do you feel that way about your relationship with God, sometimes? I can see what is right in front of me. All I can see is the day I’m in (and even that is limited). What I struggle to turn over to God is the days that are coming ahead of me. I can’t see them. I don’t have firm understanding what’s coming. I have little control over what will come and how things will turn out. I feel uninformed and out of control. I don’t like that feeling. Not at all.

I have realized over the years why in Matthew 6:11 Jesus implores us to pray: Give us today, our daily bread. It’s because at some point you and I have to admit that what we really need from God is his provision, love, power, and grace for that day. We don’t know or understand the future. We can ask God to intervene in future concerns, events, or worries… but at the end of the day all he promises is that he will provide his presence, peace, and love for that day. His mercies renew, then, each morning. You and I must learn to trust God. We must learn to find rest and peace in the fact that he has a distinct advantage over us: Control.

  • He can see endlessly into the future.

  • He knows what is best and true for my life.

  • He has a vantage point that I don’t have.

  • He sees the entire picture and I only see a very, very limited perspective on today.

  • He is flawlessly good, and I have many faults and blind spots.

This is dramatic irony to the highest degree! He knows. I don’t. Each day I must trust that he’s able and willing to work all things for the good of those who put their trust in Him (Romans 8:28). So, as I sit in 2021 looking ahead at 2022, I am challenged to pray for my daily bread.

My Dad in heaven, please give me what I need for today. Help me be obedient to your Word. I don’t always understand… I don’t always experience comfort… I don’t often claim to know what is right, good, and true. But I will trust you, anyway. Amen.

And, while I’m praying that prayer, I should be about the things I know God wants me to be doing. That’s how I tackle what is ahead. That’s how I’m choosing to trust and obey in 2022.

If you missed it, be sure you check out our December 26 online worship service experience. We talked some about our vision for 2022 and you won’t want to miss some of the things we teased out about this coming year! You can find it here.

Don’t forget, you can join with God in what he’s doing to connect people to full life in Jesus through White Oak by giving your generous end-of-year offering gift here. Thank you for partnering with White Oak in what God is doing today and what he’s got in store for us next year!

Happy New Year!

Nathan Hinkle

Lead Pastor, White Oak Christian Church


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