Tell a child you have a secret and you have his undivided attention. All of us children---big and little, young and old---love secrets; love to hear them, love to tell them.
Churches have so many secrets they have to hire someone to keep track of them. They call her a SECRETary. Our church has four. Today, I am opening the vault and revealing four of the best-kept secrets in the Kingdom of God.
Secret #1 - God has big plans for you.
Jeremiah 29:11 says it best. "I know the plans I have for you: plans for your welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope." His plans for us fall into two categories---earthly and heavenly.
Secret #2 - He is not going to tell you what they are.
In His compassion, God makes big plans for us. In His wisdom, He does not tell us what they are. He protects us from knowledge of the future for two reasons.
(1) We could not handle it.
(2) We would mess it up.
Suppose you found out that your brothers were going to fake your death and sell you into slavery, and that you would end up forgotten and forsaken in a foreign prison for years. Who could handle such news? Most of us would grieve over such a future and grow bitter toward our brothers and angry at God. In the Old Testament book of Genesis, Joseph experiences precisely such a fate.
Suppose the Lord told you that one day you would become the king's second-in-command and live in power and luxury for the rest of your life. Who could handle news like that without becoming distracted? This too is the story of Joseph in Genesis.
Scripture promises the Lord will not put more on us than we can bear. One way He does that is by withholding details about our future. The burdens would rob us of our joy and threaten to destroy us in advance, while the blessings would distract us from our responsibilities of the moment.
Secret #3 - God is working on His plans this very moment.
He is getting you ready for the future and getting the future ready for you. Jesus said, "I go to prepare a place for you. If I go away, I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there you may be also." (John 14:1-6) He is getting Heaven ready for us. He is getting us ready for Heaven.
One way God prepares us for future challenges is by giving us difficulties and hardships. He strengthens us the same way a personal trainer builds our muscles: by laying on stress. "It is good for me that I was afflicted," the psalmist said, "that I might learn thy statutes." (Psalm 119:71) That's how it works.
Secret #4 -- Your job is to be faithful today
Bloom where you are planted, as the saying goes. The way to be ready for tomorrow's opportunities is to do our job today, no matter how insignificant or routine.
Writing in the Spring 2003 issue of "Columns," the alumni magazine of Louisiana College, Curt Iles pays tribute to science professor Charles Cavanaugh. Early in Curt's sophomore year, he paid Cavanaugh a visit to tell him he planned to drop chemistry.
"Prof," said the 19-year-old, "I thought it was God's will for me to become a science teacher. I enjoyed the biology classes you taught last year. But chemistry is killing me. That little rural high school I attended did not prepare me for this. I failed the test yesterday and I am not going to be able to pass this course. So, I plan to drop chemistry. Maybe God will have something else for me since I can't be a science teacher. I need to find His will."
Suddenly, the professor cut him off. "God's will? God's will? Son, I'll tell you what God's will is for you! Get in there, go to work, and pass chemistry. That's what God's will is for you!" And he stormed out of the office. Curt sat there in shock. Finally, realizing the professor was not returning, he went back to his dormitory. That night, he studied chemistry, and the next day, made a D on the test. At least, it was passing.
"That day," Curt Iles writes, "I decided that nothing was going to stop me from achieving my goal of teaching. I was going to pass this course or die trying." A month later, the chemistry professor said, "Iles, what's happened to you?" He was a student with a purpose.
Before leaving the disciples, Jesus began to prepare them for the future. Peter listened, absorbed all he could, then turned to the apostle John. "Lord," he said, "what about him?" Jesus said, "What is that to you? You follow me." (John 21:22)
God has big plans for you. He is mercifully not going to tell you what they are. At this moment, He is at work getting you ready for them and them ready for you. Your job is to do the work He has put on your plate today.