Josh Irby

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What do you see when you look at the future?

The Mayans looked at the future and saw an apocalyptic event on December 21, 2012 at 11:11 UTC that would transform the world. Many Americans in the 90s looked into the future and saw the collapse of the world’s computer systems on January 1, 2000 that would spark mass pandemonium. Hollywood film writers look into the future and see zombies.

What do you see when you look at the future?

Photo credit Hooman (Creative Commons)

Photo credit Hooman (Creative Commons)


This past century (and especially the past decade) has brought with it a fascination with dystopia. 1984. Brave New World. The Hunger Games. World War Z. Something in us resonates with a world gone bad.

Perhaps we love these dystopian themes because too often we feel—

Perhaps they come from our distrust in government, authority, and organized religion.

Wherever they come from, many people see a future world full of destruction and decay.

Personal Dystopia

What do you see when you look at your own future?

It is easy to transfer a depressing view of the world into a depressing view of ourselves. When you look at future-you 10 years from now, 20 years from now, what do you see?

This weekend I am going on a mountain retreat with a group of university students. We will hike, fish, eat roasted lamb. We will also talk about the future—the world’s and ours.

I am convinced that how you view your future affects how you live today. If the best picture of the future you can conjure is an average life, paycheck to paycheck, working of the man, you won’t really apply yourself today. Why should you? There is no reward for working hard except an average future.

If you can imagine a future in which you are fully engaged in meaningful relationships, using your talents, and living a life of purpose, you will make different choices today. You will study. You will invest in long-term friendships. You will live more generously.

You will have hope. And hope is powerful.

There are many sources of hope. Some anchor it in their motivation or work-ethic or belief system or family. Hope is always attached to something.

The strength of the hope depends on its source.

If my hope for the world were attached to the character of man, I would predict global destruction within the century. I know too many people to be optimistic.

If my hope for my future were attached to my character, I would predict personal destruction within the decade. I know myself too well to be optimistic.

READ: I Don’t Believe in Myself

But, the source of my hope is outside of myself. It is attached to the One who created me and has a plan for my life. Because He is good, my future will be good. Because He is secure, my future will be secure. Because my hope is anchored in Him, I can anchor myself in hope.

Not Utopia

A positive future does not mean Utopia. The days ahead will still be difficult, full of pitfalls and challenges. I will continue to make mistakes and fail. But my life is going somewhere.

As for zombies and the end of the world? I’m not sure.


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