Imagine a day when lights come on as you walk through your house while the ambient temperature adjusts room by room. The kitchen table moves out of your way as you step toward the refrigerator, then moves back when you’re ready to eat. If you fall while getting into bed, your furniture shifts to protect you as an alert goes out to your family and the local monitoring station.
This is “spatial computing.” According to Scientific American, it “could be the next big thing.” Major companies, including Amazon and Microsoft, are heavily investing in the technology to make this future our present. All the objects in your home will be digitally cataloged; all sensors and the devices that control objects will be Internet-enabled; and a digital map of your home will be merged with the object map.
Technologists foresee a day when such computing will coordinate robots and their interactions with humans, the repair of machines and other devices, and the most efficient delivery of emergency healthcare to patients.
Scientific American lists spatial computing among its “top ten emerging technologies of 2020,” along with microneedles, sun-powered chemistry, virtual patients, digital medicine, electric aviation, low-carbon cement, quantum sensors for autonomous cars, green hydrogen, and whole-genome synthesis that will transform cell engineering.
Flying cars are also apparently in our future, along with self-healing concrete, computer vision, and caregiving robots. One writer predicts that the next ten years will be “the best decade of all time,” but another is not so sure.
“Do not boast about tomorrow”
This week, we’re discovering reasons for genuine thanksgiving. Not a generic sense of gratitude such as secular Americans may briefly feel tomorrow, but a true lifestyle of praise and thanks to the God who is our Father. Yesterday we discussed what God has done for us; today, let’s think about what he will do.
Unlike human predictions of the future, many of which fail spectacularly, God’s plans for us are absolutely certain. While we are cautioned, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring” (Proverbs 27:1), our omniscient King is under no such limitations.
He says of himself, “I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose'” (Isaiah 46:9–10). He is sovereign over nations and rulers (2 Chronicles 20:6), for “the Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all” (Psalm 103:19).
What is true of the nations is also true of you and me: “No creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13). He sees our present and he knows our future: “Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether” (Psalm 139:4).
“The glory that is to be revealed to us”
What is our omniscient Father’s plan for us?
Jesus came “that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Not just in heaven, but on earth as well.
Our Lord promises that “for those who love God all things work together for good” (Romans 8:28). Not that all things are good (remember Jesus’ pain-wracked tears in the Garden of Gethsemane and cry of anguish from the cross), but that God redeems all things for a greater good than we can imagine.
“Now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face,” Paul testified. As a result, “Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).
In the meantime, we can know that our Lord is working to accomplish his “good and acceptable and perfect” will in our lives and our world (Romans 12:2). And we can celebrate the fact that “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18).
Three reasons for thanksgiving
How can hope in God’s future empower thanksgiving in the present?
One: We can “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18), knowing that God is redeeming even the worst parts of life for a good that outweighs their pain.
Two: We can “with thanksgiving let [our] requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6), knowing that our Father will give us what we ask or whatever is best.
Three: We can “enter his gates with thanksgiving” (Psalm 100:4), knowing that gratitude for what God will do positions us to receive all that his grace intends to give.
Such trust in God’s future empowers us to serve God in the present. In one of his most famous statements, C. S. Lewis observed in Mere Christianity: “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the slave trade, all left their mark on earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with heaven.”
Lewis added: “It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’; aim at earth and you will get neither.”
At which world are you aiming today?