Whenever human beings talk about prophecy, we tend to focus far too much on predictive prophecy, that is, predictions about future events. We forget the texts that say we are to walk by faith, rather than sight.God has provided, in Scripture, a number predictions about the future. But we must remember that God gives us prophetic guidance not so that we may boast of our foreknowledge, but so that when they come to pass we can believe.
But as discussed in an earlier blog, most prophecy is not predictions about the future, but rather guidance for today. And since we live only today — the past has gone, the future is not yet here — prophecy which gives guidance for today is in many ways the most valuable.
For me, that is the most important part about the Adventist doctrine concerning the gift of prophecy. Understanding that the gift of prophecy goes on until we all reach the stature of Christ tells me that God will never abandon us as a people, that he will continually give us guidance, that no matter how dark the night or bleak the horizon, God will be there with us, helping us now to know his will.
At the times in my life when I have felt most fearful, when the way before me seems impossible, that only death or disaster awaits me, the one prayer that repeatedly comes to mind is, “Dear Lord, help me to be in the center of your will. I know not what awaits, I only know that whatever it is, for good or for ill, I want to be in the center of where you want me to be.”
And that’s what the gift of prophecy assures us that we can have, then we can know the will of God for us today.This knowledge provides great reassurance. I must confess, that with many others, I see the church often in crisis, with nearly insurmountable challenges before us. It frightens me, not some as for myself, as for my children and grandchildren, for they will have to face situations and circumstances I cannot imagine. Understanding that the gift of prophecy continues gives me hope, for it tells me that when I am gone, should I rest in the grave, God will continue to offer guidance to his church, and to those who mean so much to me.
In terms of my relationship with Jesus, this tells me that, in a very real way, he will never abandon me, will never leave my children, or their children, or their children’s children — however many generations it is until his return — without his loving guidance.
Should I not be one of the generation translated, should I die before the Lord comes I want to make sure there is a legacy left behind for those who follow me. I hope there is a legacy of what I believe and hope for them in my writings. I hope there is a legacy in their memories of me. Most of all, I hope I leave them a legacy of a living faith, and part of that faith is understanding that God will continue to speak to them.
Yes, the gift of prophecy is about predictions, it is about global affairs, it is about the overarching plan of God for his people. But it is also very personal for me. And I hope that it is for you as well. I hope that, day by day, each of us open ourselves to be receptive to the prophetic voice giving us personal guidance in our everyday lives.
This is not easy for me. I like to plan, I like to think that I am in control of my fate, but experience shows me that that is not true. And it is precisely those moments when I feel out of control, when I recognize my dependence upon God, that I most need to hear his voice
It’s easy to overlook the Gift of Prophecy, and think of it as a body of books, or a supernatural manifestation visited upon remarkable individuals, and to forget that it is also the still, small voice that speaks to each and every Christian.
Thus, for me, in its every level of manifestation, the gift of prophecy is a precious, precious assurance of God’s continual presence in my life.