What Does the Future Hold for Me?
“I AM afraid of the future, a future in a world characterized by nuclear threats.” Thus spoke a German youth in an address to his nation’s highest political official.
Perhaps the specter of perishing in a nuclear fireball likewise haunts your vision of the future. “Why should I bother to get good grades?” asked one youth. “The world’s going to blow up anyway.” Indeed, in one survey of schoolchildren, young boys cited nuclear war as their greatest fear. Girls rated it second, preceded only by the fear of “my parents’ dying.”
A nuclear mushroom, however, is not the only dark cloud on the horizon. The threat of “overpopulation, exhaustion of resources, pollution of the environment,” and other impending disasters led famed psychologist B. F. Skinner to conclude: “Our species now appears to be threatened.” He later confessed: “I’m very pessimistic. We’re not going to solve our problems, really.”
Since even learned observers view the future with trepidation, it is little wonder that many youths display the attitude: “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we are to die.” (1 Corinthians 15:32) Indeed, if your future rides on the ability of politicians and scientists, it looks grim, indeed. For Jeremiah 10:23 says: “To earthling man his way does not belong. It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.”
It is not that man simply lacks the ability to govern himself. Note that it does not “belong” to man to do so—he has no right to manage earth’s future. His efforts are thus doomed to failure. For that reason, Jeremiah prayed for divine intervention: “Correct me, O Jehovah, however with judgment.” (Jeremiah 10:24) This means that our Creator will determine our future. But what will that future be?
God’s Purpose for Earth—And Your Future
Shortly after man’s creation, God told the first human couple: “Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it, and have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and every living creature that is moving upon the earth.” (Genesis 1:28) Man was thus presented with the prospect of living in a global paradise.
The first couple, however, rebelled at God’s rulership. As Solomon later put it, “The true God made mankind upright, but they themselves have sought out many plans.” (Ecclesiastes 7:29) Human plans have proved to be disastrous, leaving the present generation a legacy of misery and the most dismal of future prospects.
Does this mean that God has abandoned the earth to becoming a polluted, radioactive—and perhaps lifeless—globe? Impossible! He is “the Former of the earth and the Maker of it, He the One who firmly established it, who did not create it simply for nothing, who formed it even to be inhabited.” His stated purpose for the earth is thus sure to be fulfilled!—Isaiah 45:18; 55:10, 11.
But when—and how? Read for yourself Luke chapter 21. There Jesus predicted the very problems that have plagued mankind during this century: international wars, earthquakes, disease, food shortages, widespread crime. What do these events signify? Jesus himself explains: “As these things start to occur, raise yourselves erect and lift your heads up, because your deliverance is getting near. . . . When you see these things occurring, know that the kingdom of God is near.”—Luke 21:10, 11, 28, 31.
That Kingdom is the key to your future. Simply stated, it is a government, God’s means of ruling earth. That Kingdom government will forcibly wrest control of earth from human hands. (Daniel 2:44) “Those ruining the earth” will themselves face ruin at God’s hands, saving the earth—and mankind—from the onslaughts of human abuse.—Revelation 11:18; Ecclesiastes 1:4.
Secure under the management of God’s Kingdom, the earth will gradually become a global paradise. (Luke 23:43) A perfect ecological balance will thus return. Why, there will even be harmony between man and beast. (Isaiah 11:6-9) War and weapons of war will disappear. (Psalm 46:8, 9) Crime, hunger, housing shortages, sickness—even death itself—will all be eliminated. Earth’s inhabitants “will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.”—Psalm 37:10, 11; 72:16; Isaiah 65:21, 22; Revelation 21:3, 4.
‘Testing’ God’s Promises
Everlasting life in a paradise—that can be your future! But while the idea may sound appealing, perhaps you have difficulty letting go of the belief that all good people go to heaven, or you have doubts about the Bible itself. Even some youths among Jehovah’s Witnesses have found their faith at times to be alarmingly wobbly. Michelle, for example, was raised by Witness parents. Accepting that the Bible is true was like accepting that day followed night. One day, though, it dawned on her—she didn’t know why she believed the Bible. “I guess I believed it up till then because my mother and father believed it,” she said.
“Without faith it is impossible to please [God] well,” says the Bible. (Hebrews 11:6) Yet, faith is not something you possess because your mother and father have it. If your future is to be secure, you must build a faith based on solid evidence—an “assured expectation of things hoped for.” (Hebrews 11:1) As the Bible puts it, you must “make sure of all things,” or as the paraphrase in The Living Bible expresses it, “test everything that is said to be sure it is true.”—1 Thessalonians 5:21.
Proving to Yourself That the Bible Is True
You may first need to test whether the Bible is truly “inspired of God.” (2 Timothy 3:16) How can you do that? Well, only Almighty God can without fail ‘tell from the beginning the finale.’ (Isaiah 43:9; 46:10) And he does so repeatedly in the Bible. Read the prophecies recorded at Luke 19:41-44 and Lu 21:20, 21 regarding the fall of Jerusalem. Or the prophecies at Isaiah 44:27, 28 and Isa 45:1-4 regarding the fall of Babylon. Secular history proves how unerringly the Bible predicted these events! “After examining some of its prophecies,” said 14-year-old Janine, “I was just amazed to see how it was able to foretell all that it did.”
The Bible’s historical accuracy, honesty, candor, and lack of contradiction are further reasons to put faith in the Bible.* But how do you know that the way Jehovah’s Witnesses understand the Bible is correct? The inhabitants of ancient Beroea did not accept the apostle Paul’s explanation of the Bible unquestioningly. Rather, they ‘examined the Scriptures daily as to whether these things were so.’—Acts 17:11.
We urge you likewise to make an in-depth study of the Bible’s teachings. The publication What Does the Bible Really Teach? (published by Jehovah’s Witnesses) sets forth these teachings in a clear manner. If your parents are Jehovah’s Witnesses, they will no doubt be able to help you with any questions you might have. “Be honest with your parents if you have any problems in this regard,” suggests a young woman named Janel. “Ask questions if there is something you find difficult to believe.” (Proverbs 15:22) In time you will no doubt come to appreciate that Jehovah has indeed blessed his Witnesses with a marvelous understanding of Bible truths!
Says a youth named Prentice: “Sometimes I get depressed over how the world is. I look up scriptures such as Revelation 21:4, and it gives me something to hope for.” Yes, having solid faith in God’s promises is sure to affect your outlook. You view the future with happy anticipation, not gloom. Your present life becomes, not an aimless struggle, but a means of ‘safely treasuring up for yourself a fine foundation for the future, in order that you may get a firm hold on the real life.’—1 Timothy 6:19.
But is there more to attaining that “real life” than simply learning and coming to believe the Bible’s teachings?
See pages 58-68 of the publication Reasoning From the Scriptures (published by Jehovah’s Witnesses) for more detailed information regarding the authenticity of the Bible.
Questions for Discussion
◻ What fears do many youths have regarding their future?
◻ What was God’s original purpose for the earth? Why can we be confident that God’s purpose has not changed?
◻ What role does the Kingdom play in fulfilling God’s purpose for the earth?
◻ Why is it necessary that you test the truthfulness of the Bible’s teachings, and how can you do so?
◻ How can you prove to yourself that the Bible is inspired by God?
[Blurb on page 306]
“I’m very pessimistic. We’re not going to solve our problems, really.”—Psychologist B. F. Skinner
[Picture on page 307]
Earth’s Creator will not allow man to ruin our planet
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Have you convinced yourself of the truthfulness of the Bible?