Read Acts 20:22-24
22 “And now I am bound by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. I don’t know what awaits me,23 except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead. 24 But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus-the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God. (NLT)
“Life is hopeless,may as well just give up and cop what’s coming to me.” A statement of resignation,of one who is a victim of inexorable fate. Contrast such a statement with that of Paul. He tells the leaders of the Ephesian church that he is not sure of the precise shape of the future awaiting him. He knows it involves hardship,but this doesn’t lead to passive resignation. Rather it embraces an expectation that he will be serving Jesus no matter what the circumstances.
So often we don’t know what the future holds,though like Paul we can reasonably imagine it will not be plain sailing. As a result we can become paralysed with grim,fatalistic resignation. Whatever will be will be. Luck,fate,or the impersonal workings of a hostile universe are going to win in any case.
This is the way of defeat and despair. A dead end. Better by far to adopt Paul’s perspective. He accepts his circumstances rather than despairing at them. And yet he doesn’t surrender to them. He sees the possibilities of embracing Jesus no matter what the circumstances.
We don’t have to know the future or even be sure of a favourable future. We simply have to know that our God is in that future.