I place the future in the Hands of God.
1. Today’s idea takes another step toward quick salvation, and a giant stride it is indeed! ²So great the distance is that it encompasses, it sets you down just short of Heaven, with the goal in sight and obstacles behind. ³Your foot has reached the lawns that welcome you to Heaven’s gate; the quiet place of peace, where you await with certainty the final step of God. ⁴How far are we progressing now from earth! ⁵How close are we approaching to our goal! ⁶How short the journey still to be pursued!
2. Accept today’s idea, and you have passed all anxiety, all pits of hell, all blackness of depression, thoughts of sin, and devastation brought about by guilt. ²Accept today’s idea, and you have released the world from all imprisonment by loosening the heavy chains that locked the door to freedom on it. ³You are saved, and your salvation thus becomes the gift you give the world, because you have received.
In these first two paragraphs, Jesus is encouraging us. We are getting nearer our goal and accepting this one lesson brings us nearer still. Because we are learning to watch our thoughts and bring them to the Holy Spirit for healing, we may not feel like we are making great advances, but we are. Some may even feel like they are worse off than before, but that is not true.
It only seems that way because we are now allowing ourselves to be aware of the problem instead of pushing it away and pretending everything is fine. Those thoughts were always there, we just ignored them whereas now we are looking at them with the Holy Spirit so that little by little we are becoming free of them. Giving the future to God is a step that will free us even more quickly.
3. In no one instant is depression felt, or pain experienced or loss perceived. ²In no one instant sorrow can be set upon a throne, and worshipped faithfully. ³In no one instant can one even die. ⁴And so each instant given unto God in passing, with the next one given Him already, is a time of your release from sadness, pain and even death itself.
4. God holds your future as He holds your past and present. ²They are one to Him, and so they should be one to you. ³Yet in this world, the temporal progression still seems real. ⁴And so you are not asked to understand the lack of sequence really found in time. ⁵You are but asked to let the future go, and place it in God’s Hands. ⁶And you will see by your experience that you have laid the past and present in His Hands as well, because the past will punish you no more, and future dread will now be meaningless.
Giving the future to God and not worrying about it will release us from depression, pain and loss. Sorrow will disappear and death ceases to be real to us. That time is not real is good news for us. It is hard for us to understand what that even means, but our understanding is not necessary for it to benefit us. We only need to do it and we will experience that we have laid the past and the present into His Hands as well.
5. Release the future. ²For the past is gone, and what is present, freed from its bequest of grief and misery, of pain and loss, becomes the instant in which time escapes the bondage of illusions where it runs its pitiless, inevitable course. ³Then is each instant which was slave to time transformed into a holy instant, when the light that was kept hidden in God’s Son is freed to bless the world. ⁴Now is he free, and all his glory shines upon a world made free with him, to share his holiness.
Here is an example of how this works that came into my mind as I read this lesson. After the hurricane, I was able to get the repairs to the inside of my house done relatively quickly. This made the house livable and so I didn’t have to find someplace else to stay as so many had to do. But I have not found someone to do the work on the outside of the house.
The tendency is to fret over this and from the perspective of the ego-mind this is a problem I should try to solve, and if not solve, it is a problem that should certainly worry me. But I have learned a thing or two from the Course, and so I am aware of what is coming from the ego and what is coming from the Holy Spirit. This anxiety about the future occurs because for all my many lives I have thought the future was my problem to be solved. I know better now so when those kinds of thoughts show up, I release them and remind myself that I have placed the future in the Hands of God.
I know from experience with this practice that when it is time for me to do something about it, I will feel it. It reminds me of a song by Rickie Beckwith called Tapping in which she describes this very well. She says, “You are tapping on my head, is there something I did wrong, or something I need to know.” That is what it feels like to me. A gentle tapping that I can notice or ignore but I do better to notice it.
The ego, on the other hand, is a nag and causes anxiety. So far, when I notice the thoughts about my house that bring anxiety to me, I pay attention to see if this is caused by not paying attention to Spirit, or if it is just the ego trying to control the future in a vain attempt to keep me safe. I just wait to see if there is this gentle tapping going on and thus far it has not happened so I ignore the ego and go back to being at peace. This peace goes throughout the Sonship blessing all. It is a holy instant.
6. If you can see the lesson for today as the deliverance it really is, you will not hesitate to give as much consistent effort as you can, to make it be a part of you. ²As it becomes a thought that rules your mind, a habit in your problem-solving repertoire, a way of quick reaction to temptation, you extend your learning to the world. ³And as you learn to see salvation in all things, so will the world perceive that it is saved.
In my earlier life, I thought that the future was something to be controlled, and almost never was I able to do so. Often, my attempts to control the future caused new problems and my anxiety about it affected others. If I still did this, I would likely talk about my worries to others, my children, my friends, or anyone who would listen.
Lots of people around me are doing that now because there is still a lot of work to be done and not enough contractors to do it. Where people used to talk about the weather or their fears for their children or politics, now the topic of discussion begins with, how is your house coming along? Everyone has a story to tell and they want to express their anxiety about the future. When asked, I talk about how so much has been done in my house and that I am waiting to see how the rest will be done. My voice is calm and unworried because I have placed the future in the Hands of God and sometimes if prompted, I say that as well.
7. What worry can beset the one who gives his future to the loving Hands of God? ²What can he suffer? ³What can cause him pain, or bring experience of loss to him? ⁴What can he fear? ⁵And what can he regard except with love? ⁶For he who has escaped all fear of future pain has found his way to present peace, and certainty of care the world can never threaten. ⁷He is sure that his perception may be faulty, but will never lack correction. ⁸He is free to choose again when he has been deceived; to change his mind when he has made mistakes.
The reason I am not upset about the house is that I have learned to trust God. I have also learned that the world is not real and that the story is just a story. I know I am not this body and not in this body regardless of how real it feels. I know that my purpose here is to pay attention to the effects of my beliefs and make decisions about which beliefs to keep and which to release. That is the only value that the world holds for me so that is how I use it.
But I still have moments in which the world catches my attention and I fall into a story and then I feel anxiety or some other form of discontent. I am not concerned about that because, as Jesus says in this paragraph, my perception of the situation might be faulty but I know it will never lack correction. I am always free to choose again. I always choose again because I value the peace of God above all else.
8. Place, then, your future in the Hands of God. ²For thus you call the memory of Him to come again, replacing all your thoughts of sin and evil with the truth of love. ³Think you the world could fail to gain thereby, and every living creature not respond with healed perception? ⁴Who entrusts himself to God has also placed the world within the Hands to which he has himself appealed for comfort and security. ⁵He lays aside the sick illusions of the world along with his, and offers peace to both.
9. Now are we saved indeed. ²For in God’s Hands we rest untroubled, sure that only good can come to us. ³If we forget, we will be gently reassured. ⁴If we accept an unforgiving thought, it will be soon replaced by love’s reflection. ⁵And if we are tempted to attack, we will appeal to Him Who guards our rest to make the choice for us that leaves temptation far behind. ⁶No longer is the world our enemy, for we have chosen that we be its friend.
We made the world a place where we could have choices and where we could experience emotions and differences, where we could attempt to make ourselves special. All of this has brought us many experiences but has not caused anything real to happen. It is not Heaven and could be said to be closer to the idea of hell if hell is where God is not. But there is a way of being in the world without being of it.
As we learn to watch our thoughts and release the ones that are not true, we begin to awaken and from that state of being awake to what is really occurring, we can learn that we want to hear only the Voice for God. Even here in our dream world this is possible and when we achieve that state, the dream transforms from fear to love and it is a happy dream.
When we place the future in the Hands of God, that frees the present from anxiety and wrong action that comes from fear. The present becomes a holy instant in which we are all blessed. The past is no longer in play so there is only the present moment in which we are free to be what we are rather than what we tried to make of ourselves.
The only way to know this is true is to do it and that is why this lesson is so important. When I am tempted to think I have to do something to protect my future, I ask myself if I should make decisions and plans on my own, or should I trust the future to God? I am not being asked to not act at all, but simply to act from guidance and to do so with peace and patience borne of trust.