In the classic movie, The Sting, the characters played by Paul Newman and Robert Redford ran an illegal betting operation that conned gamblers into thinking they were watching a live broadcast of a horse race, when in fact the trickster duo had it delayed – just enough so they knew the outcome of the race while the gamblers speculated.
What if you could know how things turn out? Tomorrow’s stock market closing, an impending crime that could be prevented, the outcome of a surgery before it began, or if you could be certain during the turbulent teenage years that things would indeed turn out okay.
Knowing some things brings patience, assurance and peace in the midst of anxiety, hope in the darkness of despair. Knowing the lessons from the past, we save ourselves from making the same mistakes. Sometimes knowing things changes the future. In It’s a Wonderful Life, George Bailey turned his whole life around after seeing the future consequences of his planned choices. What if you knew at the moment, that a simple act of compassion or a generous gift would make such a profound difference in someone’s life? Or the calamity of a poor choice that had a farther reaching grip than you imagined? But to a large degree we simply don’t know the specifics of what the future holds for us.
I don’t know what the future holds, but I know who holds my future.
You and I might have all kinds of theories about what happens after death, but God is the one who knows. And he assures us that we can know too:
And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. 1 John 5:11-13
Knowing Jesus makes all the difference, not just knowing him for your salvation but knowing him for your victory over the troubles and challenges you face today.
Whether it be political elections, or threat of war or famine, financial disaster or climate change, we know how it all really ends. We’ve read the last chapter of Revelation, the headlines of the last newspaper ever written. They say “God wins!” We know because we know God and we know he knows.
Ponder the words of Graham Kendrick’s song, taken from Philippians 3 and consider how knowing Jesus impacts even the routine aspects of your day today. Reflect on what it means to weigh all you hold dear against the weight/importance of knowing Jesus in your moment to moment life.
“All I once held dear, built my life upon
All this world reveres, and wars to own
All I once thought gain I have counted loss
Spent and worthless now, compared to this
Knowing you, Jesus
Knowing you, there is no greater thing
You’re my all, you’re the best
You’re my joy, my righteousness
And I love you, Lord
Now my heart’s desire is to know you more
To be found in you and known as yours
To possess by faith what I could not earn
All-surpassing gift of righteousness
Oh, to know the power of your risen life
And to know You in Your sufferings
To become like you in your death, my Lord
So with you to live and never die.”