And now here I am, compelled by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. I do not know what may happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit warns me that imprisonment and persecution await me in every city that I visit. But frankly I do not consider my own life valuable to me so long as I can finish my course and complete the ministry which the Lord Jesus has given me in declaring the good news of the grace of God. (JBP)
None of us knows what tomorrow might bring. Paul certainly didn’t know exactly what awaited him in Jerusalem and elsewhere. Yet he anticipated hardship. Which is a rather different view of faith to that which many hold.
Faith for some people means a belief that things are going to go well for us in the future. That if we have enough faith we will avoid the sadnesses and hardships that fall on others. This is not faith: it is wishful thinking. Of course we want things to go well for us and those we love. Of course we hope tomorrow might be better.
But if we take Paul as our guide, this is not the essence of faith. The essence of faith in relation to the future is that it enables us to walk into that future confident that God will be faithful. There are no other watertight guarantees.
If our faith is dependent on our wishes and dreams coming true, then when the wishes and dreams fail to come true, our faith fails to survive. God has promised to save us, not all our wishes and dreams. My faith in whatever future awaits is dependent on God being true to his character. That whatever might be around the next corner, I know who will be there to meet me around that corner.