The Future Hides in the Past

I generally listen to worship music. However, I also like some artists from my past. Two who I admire for their lyrical skills are Jackson Browne and Dan Fogelberg. Recently Spotify created a playlist for me so I decided to listen to it while I working out in my basement. While I was listening to an old Jackson Browne song that I was not familiar with (Something Fine) a line in the song caught my attention, “The future hides in the past.” Being intrigued by the phrase I looked up the lyrics, which actually say, “The future hides and the past just slides.” Not at all what I heard.

Be that as it may, what I heard in the phrase highlights one way the Holy Spirit speaks to me. He will often highlight a phrase someone says and give it a different emphasis or twist, or while hearing the actual words I will hear something slightly different that holds spiritual significance. When this happens, I have learned that what I hear points to something He wants me to focus on. In reflecting on ‘The Future Hides in the Past’ I was drawn to a truth of scripture. In 1 Corinthians 10 Paul tells us that the things in the past were written for our example – the future hides in the past.

11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. 1 Corinthians 10:11 (NKJV)

While Paul’s was providing a warning to learn from, he was also pointing to a pattern we can see unveiled in the scriptures. In the Old Testament when Israel was faithful in following Yahweh, they experienced blessing and favour. When they went astray, they experienced calamity. There is a parallel truism in the helping professions, ‘The best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour.’ Again, for good or bad.

Paul expressed the same sentiment in different language.

11 This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him. 12 If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. 13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself. 2 Timothy 2:11-13 (NKJV)

The basic point – He is faithful. We can trust Him. Anytime we incline our hearts toward Him we encounter His heart

In this coming year, whatever you face, I challenge you to look back. Looking back, not upon errors or failures, looking back upon your history of His faithfulness. When we have truly depended upon and looked to Him, we know He has always been faithful. In your history of His faithfulness, see what is to come, ‘the future hides in the past.’

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I have been walking with Jesus since 1985. I am currently retired from my career in the helping professions but still focused on ministering to others. I completed a Doctorate of Philosophy in Apologetics in September 2020.

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