Abraham Lincoln reportedly dreamt of his own death only days before his fateful visit to Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865. In his dream, he heard people crying softly. Going from room to room to find the source of the sobbing, he found a corpse in the East Room. The body was dressed in funeral vestments; the face was covered. Lincoln demanded to know the person’s identity. One of the soldiers replied, “The President…he was killed by an assassin.”

History is filled with eerie stories of individuals who anticipate terrible events before they happen, including their own deaths. Unsurprisingly, the prophets — including Jesus — do much the same. God’s men often see horrific things that could not be stopped, only announced. Here we might think of the prophet Micaiah, who foresees the death of Ahab and the ensuing chaos of Israel’s defeat (1 Kings 22:17). Jeremiah foretells the destruction of the nation (Jeremiah 25). We could include Jesus, who weeps over the impending Roman destruction of Jerusalem (Luke 19:41-44). Prophetic foresight was a terrible privilege.

Although the prophets issue grim prophecies of doom and destruction, they also give messages of hope. The prophets include declarations of God’s love and celebrate times of renewal once the penalty of sin has been satisfied. One of the most famous is the prophet Isaiah, who speaks of the devastation of the Southern Kingdom yet looks forward to a time of restoration that would follow.

The invasion of the Southern Kingdom by Babylon in the sixth century B.C. must have been terrible. It must have been saddening to the prophets who announce it. We might say the same of Jesus’ death. Yet without the cross, no human being could be reconciled to God. The prophets teach us to look beyond the horizon even when times are dark. God has made marvelous plans, even if we cannot see them yet.

Today, I will…remember that God holds the future in His hands and put my confidence in Him to accomplish His will.