We live in a world, and particularly a culture that wants to know how things are going to happen and when they're going to happen. We have people who are "trained" to forecast the weather, and stock market, but the best they can do is give an educated guess based upon previous data.
Often within the church we assimilate the understanding of predictions to our understanding of prophecy, which is not entirely false and yet, not entirely true. We often look at prophecy with our eyes squinted shut in doubt because so much "prophecy" does not come to fruition. We actually wait for it not to happen, unlike Nineveh who repented in expectation of prophecy coming to pass, which begs the question of Jonah, who's prophecy was it?
I have come to know and experience several prophets in my time, but they did not predict what I would have for lunch, or whom I would marry. They were preachers who rightly divided the Word of God and applied it to the cultural context they were preaching in to guide the people towards holy living. They simply preached the Word and stepped back and said "Thus saith the Lord". The weight of the prophecy then rests on the hearers to respond (James 1:19-27).
Can we predict or forecast how people will respond to our preaching? Somewhat, because we have a history of data to show us how God's people have responded in the past, but we can never know what exactly that response will be in the moment because we don't know how the Holy Spirit is going to work in a certain person's life at any given moment.
We can never be quite certain how the winds will shift or to what degree they will affect the weather. We can never be quite certain how human nature will affect the stock market. We can forecast, and predict. That's all we can do. And in our prophecy we can speak forth the Word of God, and pray that what the Lord calls us to share moves people closer to God.
This is why for me, each day is step of faith. Each moment, even now as I type, I ask God, what would you have me say and do that would bring you glory, and how are you calling me to respond to your glory? I can't live by forecasts and predictions (as much as I try), only by the Word of God.
Monday, June 1, 2009
Posted by George Atkins at 7:42 AM