Questions About Our Future

It’s happening more and more. Famous people I grew up watching and admiring are dying. Peggy Lipton of the late 60’s, early 70’s show “Mod Squad” passed away on May 11. Tim Conway, who made all of us laugh especially with his role on the “Carol Burnett Show” during its 1967-78 run, died on May 14. In between those two was the passing of 97 year old actress Doris Day on May 13. Though her film and music career began back in the late 30’s, she was extremely successful during the 50’s and 60’s. But I best remember her in “The Doris Day Show” during the late 60’s and early 70’s. She may be best known for the song “Que Sera, Sera” (Whatever Will Be, Will Be).

As a young boy I recall hearing and liking this song. I’m sure the fact that Doris Day was pretty didn’t hurt my opinion! I haven’t really thought about this song until I learned of her death and heard the song on the news. If you’re not familiar with it, here are the lyrics. (by Jay Livingstone / Ray Evans)

When I was just a little girl
I asked my mother, what will I be
Will I be pretty
Will I be rich
Here's what she said to me

Que será, será
Whatever will be, will be
The future's not ours to see
Que será, será
What will be, will be

When I grew up and fell in love
I asked my sweetheart, what lies ahead
Will we have rainbows
Day after day
Here's what my sweetheart said

Que será, será
Whatever will be, will be
The future's not ours to see
Que será, será
What will be, will be

Now I have children of my own
They ask their mother, what will I be
Will I be handsome
Will I be rich
I tell them tenderly

Que será, será
Whatever will be, will be
The future's not ours to see
Que será, será
What will be, will be

At the heart of the song is a young girl asking: what will I be? … what lies ahead? … and then her kids asking her the same … what will I be? Those are legitimate questions we’re still asking. But it’s interesting that in this song there’s an expectation of being pretty, rich, having rainbows day after day, and being handsome. Sure, the lyrics indicate we don’t really know and can only ultimately say, “Whatever will be, will be. The future’s not ours to see” but the fact the questions of being pretty, rich, handsome, and endless rainbows indicates that was the anticipated way of life.

We should still think about the future and ask, “What will I be?” and “What lies ahead?” Great questions. But I suspect more people today are asking follow up questions more like, “Will I be able to land and keep a good job?” “Will I be cancer free?” “Will I be a victim of violent crime?” “Will my marriage survive?” “Will I be able to enjoy retirement?” “Will my children turn out okay?” “Will I end up being medicated for depression?” And as Christians we ask other questions like, “Will I always wrestle with this same sin?” “Will I continue to be faithful in serving the Lord or fall away like others I know?” “Will I learn to forgive others as Christ has forgiven me?” “Will Americans continue to enjoy the religious freedoms we’ve enjoyed for so long?”

The fact is that life is hard and we realistically know that instead of beauty, wealth, and endless rainbows we should expect difficulties. But at the same time, we have the hope that God is good and actively involved in our lives. He demonstrated this on the cross. Jesus actually says it well in John 16:33 - “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

What question are you wrestling with as it relates to your future? We can say much more than “whatever will be, will be.” We don’t have to resign ourselves to fatalism, determinism, stoicism, or chance. We can rest and rejoice in a personal God who is actively working all things to His own glory and our good.