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Can’t Miss Prediction for 2016

I can predict the future!
Better yet, I can predict your future. And what better time to reveal this prophetic prognostication that the start of a new year? 2016 arrived today with lots of fanfare (and security concerns), football games (at least in the U.S.) and forecasts. Some of the so called experts publishing these predictions are simply seeking to make a splash. The wilder the better explains “Bono will be the next Pope” headlines and the like. Other prognosticators make a big to do about not much. There will be a new President or 2016 will be the warmest in history are sufficiently vague (like where will it be the warmest?) or guaranteed to effectively remove them from the “prediction” category. But many of the forecasters fall somewhere in the middle as they predict things like Apple will buy Tesla or another 6 States will legalize marijuana. While all of that is interesting on some level I will now give you one can’t miss prediction for your 2016.

It will be different than you predict.
2016 will not turn out the way you think it will. Of this I am certain. The difference may be slight or gargantuan in scope but you can bank on it. The events of the next 365 days (well actually 366) will deviate from the way you envision them unfolding at some point along your journey. And how, pray-tell, am I able to make this prediction with such a degree of certainty you may ask. 49 years of data collection multiplied by the countless other individuals of different age, race, and socio-economic subsets that have shared their own experiences with me. Almost without fail these reports have revealed the same thing; life doesn’t often turn out the way you think it will.

Time after time in my life reveals the course of events that I expect turn out to be very different than the events I experience. I would have never imagined 20 years ago that I would end up moving back to my hometown and being the Pastor of a church. There were so many twists and turns along the way, the route so circuitous that in hindsight its easy to admit no one could have predicted it. That’s what makes it so curious that I still believe I should be able to predict what the next 20 years (or 1 year) will hold. And I know I’m not alone! I bet if we sat down over a cup of coffee and you shared your story with me it would reveal the same type of surprising turns.

Before you throw your hands up and cast your future to unpredictable fate allow me to clarify I’m not saying that God is not in control. I’m not saying that you don’t reap what you sow. I am saying that the the events that unfold in your life and mine will be different than what you imagine.

So What?
Maybe nothing. Maybe this is simply a reminder at the beginning of the year that all the predictions are just exercises in demonstrating how much we don’t know and aren’t in control. Maybe this is a chance to revisit the way we tend to judge people without knowing how they got to the intersection where we encountered their story. Maybe its a call for a little more grace. Maybe its a chance to realize again (as trite as it may sound) that we do not know what the future holds but we do know the One who holds the future. Maybe its simply a challenge to renew our commitment to following Him for another year.

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