Fifty million Americans use heartburn drugs such as Nexium, Prilosec, and Prevacid. All three are proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs). In a recent study, patients who began using PPIs were 25 percent more likely to die than people who started taking other types of heartburn medication.
However, the study’s author emphasized that people taking PPIs should not stop their medication without consulting their doctors. The drugs could help people with bleeding ulcers and those at a higher risk for cancer.
So, should you take these medications or not? Until further research is done, it’s apparently hard to say.
Meanwhile, meteorologists are working on ways to predict the weatheryears into the future. According to one expert, scientists are using petabytes of data to develop and test models that would predict major weather events. He explains: “We’re optimistic for some of these big events, like a big El Nino, we can predict them.”
By contrast, consider my meteorological experience yesterday. I went for a walk in my neighborhood at 6 a.m. after checking the National Weather Service app, which predicted that rain would begin at my location around 8:30 a.m. Fifteen minutes later, rain and lightning forced me to return. I checked the app again—even though rain was falling outside, it claimed that showers would not begin until 8:15 a.m.
One more news item: the American Federation of Astrologers saysthat seventy million Americans read their horoscopes every day. According to a Harris poll, 26 percent of Americans believe in astrology. One study reports that 58 percent of Millennials consider astrology to be scientific.
Why are we so intent on predicting the future?
It’s not that we’re necessarily good at it. When Apple unveiled its new phone ten years ago, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer claimed, “There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share.” Steve Chen, cofounder of YouTube, wasn’t sure his creation was viable: “There’s just not that many videos I want to watch,” he explained.
Paradoxically, the fact that we cannot predict the future is one reason we try. Anything that gives us a perceived sense of control over the uncontrollable will always be enticing. Since technology has given us greater mastery of our present circumstances than any generation in history, our quest to foresee the future is understandable.
However, tomorrow is unknowable to all but the One who transcends time: “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).
In light of his omniscience and our finitude, our choice is simple: We can join our secular culture in fearing an unknown future, or we can trust what we cannot see to the God who sees us. Which is our Father’s intention for his children? Which is a greater witness to his provision and power?
Thomas Fuller: “He who fears not the future may enjoy the present.” Will you enjoy the present today?
Jim Denison, Ph.D., speaks and writes on cultural and contemporary issues. He produces a daily column which is distributed to more than 113,000 subscribers in 203 countries. He also writes for The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Post, Common Call, and other publications.