21st August 2023

It’s the stuff of supernatural thrillers, and gamblers might wish they had it for obvious reasons, but I’ve never thought possessing an ability to see into the future would be particularly desirable. Most of us will perhaps seriously doubt that such a gift exists, though I have met one or two folk over the years who claimed to have it, at least on occasions. From what I understood, their ‘visions’ or premonitions – call them what you will – weren’t at their beck and call, but came unheralded, and even then were usually about other people, not themselves.

Quite apart from the vulnerability implicit in such hypothetical experiences, I’d be troubled by the loss of freedom to live fully and naturally in the present moment. If I suddenly knew that a friend would have a very serious accident or even perhaps die in a few months’ time, my feelings about him or her would become much more complicated, and for reasons I wasn’t free to share. Or conversely, if I saw something wonderful was coming their way, how would I keep that to myself or hold back from dropping hints, so limiting their freedom to be themselves and make their own choices? No thank you – I’ll stay my unintuitive, plodding self!

What comforts me is that, whatever comes my way for good or ill, I won’t be facing it alone. The fact that Jesus walked this earth as one of us assures me that my experiences matter to him, because he’s been there already. I don’t need to know the future if I know he shares my present.

Ken Stewart