Fortune Cookie

Asia Garden makes excellent Mongolian beef.  I should know after 20 years of eating at this restaurant.  When the check is presented it is accompanied by a fortune cookie.  I like the taste of them and…I always read the fortune.  The latest said “Any troubles you may have will pass very shortly.”  Actually most of the little troubles of life do pass very shortly.  The big ones don’t.

What if the fortune cookie really worked?  What if before any major decision, we could check with the fortune cookie.  “It would be foolish to quit your job.” or “You will regret marrying that man/woman.”  Families would have big bags of fortune cookies in the pantry for consultation.  According to the all wise and knowing internet, the most common fortune found in a cookie is “you will find a bushel of money.”  If only…

Why is the future so fascinating?  The major appeal of the Book of Revelation is the focus on prophecy.  No one reads it’s stories to their children. There are few songs based on it.  To know the future, even on a broad scale is to raise the pulse rate to “Wow! That’s cool!”  Learning our own personal future with dead certainty is invaluable (I am certain that people would pay a “fortune” for it.  It is an inadvertent pun. Really!)  Why do we want to know?  It would improve our immediate decisions.

I would have bought Microsoft stock in the early years, bought more and held on to my Apple stock for longer, married the same woman but treated her better and avoided some very bad decisions that came my way.  It would be nice to know how life would have been in a warmer climate which leads to another reason for wanting to know…what would have happened if I had gone a different way?  If only we could live several different tracks of life to see which one we really liked?  Just in case there were better options that would have changed everything.

On the other hand, God is not usually willing to share the future with us.  There are some exceptions.  God told Ananias what Paul’s destiny was in Acts 9

15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; 16 for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.” (NASB)

“So, Paul, here’s the plan.  You are going to minister all over the world which is terrific but, you will suffer, suffer and suffer some more along the way, accompanied by some pain.” There’s a fortune cookie you rarely find. “You will experience great suffering soon.”  Throw that one back!

That is the problem with knowing the future.  If there are unpleasant things ahead, we might not want to know.  We only get one life so it means we must make careful decisions in this one.  Regret, I think, is a great teacher.  It serves to remind us which decisions were bad ones.  Don’t compound those by doing them again. Ultimately, God uses this life to teach us two important things:  Who He is and How He acts.  From that information we can make good decisions and spend our lives doing the only things that matter which are to  trust Him and serve others.  He stays with us all the way because He is a great teacher.

Psalm 91:14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation. (NIV)

ps:  My latest fortune cookie said that I should access my artistic side and use my excellent color sense.  I think it was meant for someone else.



2 thoughts on “Fortune Cookie

  1. I love reading your writings, it’s about as close as I come to hearing your sermons these days. You put things into terms that, well, even I can understand. I like this particular writing the most at this particular point in time, and here’s why.
    Recently I picked up a new book to read. I heard it was a good book by several people, so I figured why not. I’m not overly far into it, something about kids needing to eat and stuff. The book, well the part I’m currently reading, talks about the ‘mystic Christian’ and how it’s dangerous. How as a Christian we follow our feelings, those in the moment make you feel good feelings. Much like fortune cookies, which are meant to give one that good feeling in life or that moment anyway. I haven’t gotten much beyond that at the moment, but I’ll continue reading and pondering.

  2. There is a good movie called The Bucket List and in a scene from that movie, Morgan Freeman’s character reflects on whether he would like to be a part of the majority and know the exact hour of his own death. After some thought, he decides he would rather not. I have to say, I agree with him. Knowing my future might make me rush to experience too many good things (I do think there is such a concept as too much of a good thing) and I might not cherish the best things as I should. Furthermore, my stubborn self might try to alter the life that God would want me to experience in my journey with him and that would be most awful indeed, don’t you think? Also, if God already knows all our moves before we make them, would it really be possible to live life in any way that differed from the one he designed, mistakes and all?
    I know that I for one enjoy that fortune cookies are no more specific than to remind me that all small troubles pass in time – I do need that kind of reminder on occassion. Whatever obstacles I face, I think if God has brought me to them, he will also bring me through them and that’s all I need to know of the future, at least for now.

    I love your writing, thank you so much for keeping this blog 🙂

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