Epistle #63: “The Future” by Pastor Mark Patzke

Note from Pastor Brian:
I enjoyed the privilege of working closely with Pastor Mark Patzke at First Lutheran Church in Colorado Springs in 2017 and 2018 prior to his retirement. His pastoral words shared on “The Future” are also prophetic. I know that you will benefit in reading his reflections as I have. Peace to you all!


“You’ve probably seen those old medieval world maps that tried to accurately represent the world as it was then known. The fact is there was a lot that was unknown.  At the edges of these maps, where knowledge and exploration petered out, imagination and fear took over. The map-makers would scrawl over these mysterious regions the ominous warnings, “There be dragons!”
Often times, we might be found to be thinking about the future in terms like that. Could there be dragons, monsters, lying in wait for us, unexpected dangers and frightening changes? Who knows?
People gathered around Jesus during his ministry and wondered about the future, too. He would say he knows nation will rise against nation; there will be earthquakes and famines and wars. He knows he will be rejected, undergo great suffering, be killed, and after three days rise again! Who knows if the future holds dragons and monsters, or wonders and joys? Who knows? God knows.
This is one of the truths to be found in God’s Word – God is good at the future, and we are not. When we are dazed and baffled about what comes next and what we should do, God knows. When our smug certainty about how good things are takes a bad turn, and we wonder how and why, God knows. God is good at the future, and we are not.
A man runs into an acquaintance he hasn’t seen for a while. “Hey Joe. Where’ve you been?”
“I just got out after months in the hospital.” “Really? What happened?” “I was flying an airplane when the engine died.” “That’s bad.” “Not so bad. I had a parachute.” “That’s good.” “Not so good. It didn’t open.” “That’s bad.” “Not so bad. There was a haystack below me.” “That’s good.” “Not so good. There was a pitchfork in it.” “That’s bad.” “Not so bad. I missed the pitchfork.” “That’s good.” “Not so good. I missed the haystack.”
Are we really skilled at judging what is the good and bad fortune in our lives? What the outcome of events will be – when bad looks good and good looks bad to us?
Life is filled with uncertainty. And to that reality Jesus says, don’t be misled. God is good at the future – and we are not. But God is also wonderful with the present, and that is our salvation. We turn to God who is present now, joining our lives to God in faith, entering a future of God’s making, not our own.
Live with this confidence in the future, that Christ Jesus lives to intercede for us, calls us to live with him and live as him – both now as our old self passes away, and as we are raised with him to the glory of God’s future forever. I pray this this blessing on all your days.”

– Pastor Mark Patzke

Church office email: StPaulLutheranChurch@hotmail.com
Pastor Brian Mortenson email: StPaulPastor1941@gmail.com
Pastoral Emergencies: 605-351-0867

Church office phone: 515-462-4270