We often worry about and fear the future. What will be the results of my upcoming medical tests? How will I provide for my family if I lose my job? What will happen to my country if the nominee is elected? Will I remain safe during my upcoming travels? What will become of my family member if they continue their current path?
English Puritan, William Gurnall, likewise experienced fears of the future. He lived during a time, much like ours, of civil, political, and religious unrest. He suffered personal poor health much of his life. He had fourteen children; only six survived him.
Yet Gurnall’s experiences and theological training qualified him to write the most well-known Puritan work on spiritual warfare. His massive thousand-page plus commentary on Eph 6:10-20, called The Christian in Complete Armour, offers three comforts for the soul fearful of the future.
- God’s providences
Not a sparrow falls from a tree (Matt 10:29), nor any Christian goes through an affliction or trial, which is not a product of God’s hand. As the Heidelberg Catechism beautifully says, “All things come not by chance but by his Fatherly hand.”
- God’s promises
God has promised to “never leave you nor forsake you” no matter what your upcoming affliction and trial might prove to be (Heb 13:5). Based on God’s promises, Gurnall insightfully observes that all the suffering grace you need for your future trial was supplied to you at the moment you became a Christian. And yet, God continues to shower us with grace during the trial.
- God’s plans
In God’s wise and gracious plan, he often has created a future that causes you to turn to him in full dependence and trust, so that you can confidently say, as one has said, “I do not know what the future may hold, but I know and trust the One who holds the future.”
Christian, whatever future you face—sickness, job loss, heart-ache, strife, enmity, rejection, pain, or suffering of all kinds—comfort your soul with God’s providences, promises, and plans. Be assured, as Gurnall says, that though you may “not see God in the way, yet you will find him in the end.”
Pastor Dan Burrus