I tell my students all the time, "Guys, listen. I've been where you're going. I've been to 10th grade English, and I know what they expect you to know. I've been to the SAT, and I know what you have to be able to do. I've been to college, and I know that the quality you're turning in now won't cut it then."
I tell them I've been there because they need to know I'm trustworthy. They need to know my methods aren't haphazard but are preparing them for what's to come. They need to know my knowledge of their yet-to-come determines my actions in their happening-right-now.
They need to know, and so do I.
I need to know my God is trustworthy. I need to know His methods aren't haphazard, and I need to know His knowledge of my yet-to-come determines His actions in my happening-right-now.
It's so tempting and natural for me to forget God knows. He knows what was and is, and most comfortingly, He knows what will be. The future is past to Him, and He is not limited by the space and time that bind me. Nothing I face surprises His heart, and everything I face passes through His hands.
When I lose sleep worrying about what I can't see, His eye is on the sparrow - and on me, too. When I fear all that is to come, He knows exactly what I'll face and has prepared me throughout my life specifically for it. Nothing in my life has been haphazard or without plan.
If I, as a fallible teacher, plan ahead for what my students will face, how much more does my loving Father plan ahead for His child?
When my world-hardened heart tries to convince me there's something I need that I don't have, my always gracious God reminds me that "...no good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless" (Psalm 84:11).
When my weary body and restless mind convince me I cannot keep going, my understanding and encouraging God tells me, "Everything is possible for one who believes" (Mark 9:23).
When my pain and isolation whisper, "Nobody understands," my Savior and Redeemer says, "I will never leave you or forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5).
When my trial feels unending, my God reminds me, "Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning" (Psalm 30:5).
Nothing reassures us quite as much as encouragement from someone who has been where we're headed, whether it's a class we're taking, an illness we're facing, or an age we're parenting. But sometimes there's not a person who can tell us we'll be ok. Sometimes we face waters uncharted by those we know. Sometimes we just don't know anyone who has been where we're going. It's in those moments that we can tell what our faith is really made of, and it's in those moments we can see if we really trust the God we profess.
God has been where we are going. His throne "has stood from time immemorial," and He is from "the everlasting past" (Psalm 93:2). Even if no person we know has been where we're going, our God has. Not only has He been in and seen our future, He has ruled sovereignly over it. We can trust that He plans to prosper and not harm us in the hope and future that is to come.
He is not only the teacher who has seen the future courses, He is the one who created them. He is also the one who made us for them, knitting us together to successfully navigate them all.
Our God is the One who can truly say, "I've been where you're going," and He is the One who is truly trustworthy. His ways are not haphazard, and His knowledge of the future determines His actions now. When the fear of the unknown presses heavily into our souls, may we press heavily into the One who knows.