Your God-given future is not a haphazard jumble of confusing contingencies. If you feel stuck, you don’t have to be. If you feel discouraged, it’s time to deal with that. If you feel uncertain, you can get clarity.
You’re traveling an appointed way filled with promise and productivity. Everything in your past has prepared you for what’s next, and every promise of God will provide what’s needed. This is no time to let anxiety, apathy, or anything else hamper you.
I’ve written this book to encourage you to push forward, whatever your age or circumstances. Get on with your life and chase your unfolding future—and do it with focus, faith, and fervor. I’m excited about whatever is next for you! Your coming days and years are brimming with blessings. Yes, there may be burdens, but God knows about those too. So don’t dread tomorrow. Leverage it for the Lord and for others.
I’ve lived long enough to learn something: no matter what season of life you’re in, your best and brightest days are just around the corner. That’s not just my opinion and it’s not a pious platitude; it’s biblical truth. When you seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, your future is always unfolding at the speed of grace. God is waiting to use you now more than ever, and your life is far from finished. It’s just beginning.
Think of it this way. Your car’s rearview mirror is a fraction of the size of the windshield, and there’s a reason for that. Safe drivers glance in the mirror but focus on the road ahead. But how would you like to be the kind of driver preoccupied with the mirror? Too many people travel through life that way. They regret yesterday’s failures, rehash yesterday’s blessings, coast through life on a quarter-tank of fuel, and hope for a scenic overlook ahead. Too often that leaves them stalled by the side of the road.
Let me hand you a bucket and rag. Wash the windshield, buckle your seat belt, and shift the car into drive. That was the apostle Paul’s attitude when he declared, “I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us” (Phil. 3:13–14 NLT).
That’s been my approach to life too, but I felt a sense of rediscovery in this regard on Sunday, April 14, 2019. That evening at Shadow Mountain Community Church, where I serve, we invited musician Tommy Walker to minister to us in a concert. (To watch the song, go to https://vimeo.com/388291193/5c5f551a48.) Tommy is a gifted and heartfelt artist, and his last song grabbed my heart. It was as though he had written and sung that song just for me. Its title was “Forward,” and the lyrics are, in part:
It’s been a long, long road
It’s been a crooked path
With many twists and turns
But I’m not looking back
I’m walking straight ahead
Believing what You’ve said, Lord
That You’re gonna be with me
No matter what life brings
Forward, I’m going forward
To the plans You have for me
To horizons yet unseen
Forward to Your new mercies I will find
As I’m pressing toward the prize
I’m going forward.1
In speaking with Tommy after the concert and later reading what he wrote about this song, I came to appreciate those words even more.
Tommy wrote, “This song was written with a sense of determination to move FORWARD by faith into the next season of my life. The older I get, the easier it is to want my life to be safe, comfortable, and predictable. But that’s not God’s plan! The God we worship is a God who loves the new and He’s all about bringing newness to our lives and the lives of those around us.”
Tommy continued, “We will have to let go of the safe and familiar in order to step into the things that bring His life, joy, and power! God desires that all of us press in and press on by faith to the good plans and good works he has for each of us! It’s never too late! Let’s say no to fear, complacency, and comfort and move FORWARD by faith in Jesus Name!”2
His song became the theme of this book.
Effective men and women are forward thinkers. The nineteenth-century preacher F. B. Meyer wrote, “It is a mistake to be always turning back to recover the past. The law for Christian living is not backward, but forward; not for experiences that lie behind, but for doing the will of God, which is always ahead and beckoning us to follow.”
Meyer went on to urge us: “Leave the things that are behind, and reach forward to those that are before, for on each new height to which we attain, there are the appropriate joys that befit the new experience. Don’t fret because life’s joys are fled. There are more in front. Look up, press forward, the best is yet to be!”3
David Jeremiah, Forward: Discovering God’s Presence and Purpose in Your Tomorrow (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2020), xii–xvi.
We have just released a new Bible Study on the book Forward, by David Jeremiah
These lessons are available on Amazon, as well as a part of Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription Service. Like Netflix for Bible Lessons, one low subscription gives you access to all our lessons–thousands of them. For a medium-sized church, lessons are as little as $10 per teacher per year.
Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking. Answers are provided in the form of quotes from respected authors such as John Piper, Max Lucado and Beth Moore.
These lessons will save you time as well as provide deep insights from some of the great writers and thinkers from today and generations past. I also include quotes from the same commentaries that your pastor uses in sermon preparation.
Ultimately, the goal is to create conversations that change lives.