(194) I place the future in the Hands of God.
Accepting that the past is gone is simply common sense, because by definition, what is "past" is no longer here; it is gone. Only our mental attachment to things past, our insistence on regurgitating past incidents and chewing them over again, can have any effect on the present. The effects we feel are not of the past, but of our present thinking about the past.
Accepting that the future has not yet arrived is also common sense, because again by definition, what is future is not here now. It cannot have any effect on the present moment. Only our mental imagination of what the future might hold, and our thinking about what has not yet occurred, can have present effect.
In both cases, the effects that we imagine come from past or future come, in fact, from our present thinking. Therefore, only by changing our present thinking can those effects be altered. When I am able to mentally let go of the past and the future, placing the future in God's Hands, I am freed from their apparent effects. I am at liberty, in the now, to open myself to accept what God is giving me now.
The present circumstances in which I find myself may appear to be threatening. They may have come about, in my perception, because of past events. They may appear to lead inevitably to some unhappy future. Yet if I can open my mind to believe that "what God gives can only be for good" (1:4), then that good will come to me. We cannot know all the factors involved in the events of our lives and their effect on everyone around us. But God knows. We can safely and confidently take our hands off, and place the future in God's Hands. We can look upon things that seem to bring evil and refuse the evil, accepting only what God gives as what truly belongs to us. In everything, there is a gift of God, if we look carefully enough. To place our future in God's Hands we must let go ourselves, and stop trying to orchestrate the events of our lives. Doing so is a constant lesson in trust. Trust is the key, an essential ingredient in placing the future into God's Hands.
In the Manual for Teachers, the fundamental stage in the process of development from "teacher of God" to "advanced teacher of God" is the development of trust. The full flowering of trust is not an overnight process. It goes through several stages, clearly set out in the Manual. Most of those stages involve some discomfort, because until we have truly acquired trust, we keep trying to second-guess God. The pain comes not from the learning, but from what we have not yet learned. What we are learning will bring the removal of the pain, but pain along the way seems almost unavoidable. "Few teachers of God escape this distress entirely" (M-4.I.5:3). Yet when the lesson is learned, the peace will be like nothing we have ever known. We can only imagine what total freedom from all anxiety feels like, and yet, if we have wholly placed our future into God's Hands, what else could be the certain result?
Each effort we make in this direction is beneficial. Each moment we place into His Hands will lessen the burden of care we carry constantly for our lives. Gradually, we are learning to cast all our cares on Him, trusting in His caring for us.