Que sera, sera
Whatever will be, will be.
The future's not ours to see.
Que sera, sera
What will be, will be.
My sister's recent wedding, an article about the state of Africa and reading the biblical book of Proverbs have all contributed to the chorus of this popular little song being lodged in my mind.
"Whatever will be will be."
Is the message of this song really true?
As the song circled around my head on repeat I did what I usually do. I analysed the lyrical content.My conclusion about this saying was decisively indecisive.
On one hand the maxim the chorus focuses on has, at its very heart, two important truths. On the other hand, "Que sera, sera" is about as true as the Spanish that constructs it is grammatically correctâsomething is not quite right.
It is true: "The future's not ours to see."
The first truth is we are people who are extremely limited. We only know what has been and what is now. Even so, our knowledge is incomplete.
Whatever we know of the future is a guess (at best, an educated guess) because we can never really be sure what tomorrow will bring. One event could change everything and as a poet writes, "The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry."
Yet, as individuals and as a culture, we like to tell ourselves we are in control of our lives. If we just pick ourselves up by our bootstraps, keep going, be happy and earn enough money everything in the future will be fine. We tell our children, "You can do anything you dream of" and "The world is your oyster" but the future is not ours to see. So, we say, "Que sera, sera" because we are ignorant.
"Whatever will be, will be" because God reigns
The second truth is: "whatever will be, will be." Whatever is to come will come and whatever things are to happen will happen. We know this is true. Words can hardly express how deep our knowledge of this isâit is ingrained in us to know things will occur, to look forward, to hope. This truth is so because there is a God who is alive.
Contrary to what our culture says, our lives are a product of design not chaos, of purpose not probability. Chance is not an active agent. It has not made us nor will it determine the events that unfold in time: we are made and sustained by a living God.
"Whatever will be, will be" reflects that all future events are sure, though we do not and cannot know them now. They are sure and certain because God is real and He reigns. So, whatever will be will not be because life is the outworking of chance. It will be because it is the purposeful creation of a living God.
Yet, despite these truths, something is still not quite right with "Que sera, sera".
A false hope
The maxim "Que sera, sera" is untrue because it leads us astray into a false way of thinking. This thinking says, "It doesn't matter what you do, she'll be right!" But we cannot live however we want to because it does matter how we live.
The real, true God who made and sustains us has standards. No purpose of His can be thwarted. God is holyâperfect in all His attributes, perfect in being and willâand He won't overlook sin. In our natural state, which has us living for ourselves, we stand justly condemned before Him.
God has shown Himself to us through creation and the Jewish prophets and finally, ultimately, through Jesus Christ. He shows us that He has made us and He calls us to obey Him.
We are commanded to repent and believe: we must not live for ourselves but turn from our natural evil and trust in Jesus Christ, the only one who can save us from ourselves and the condemnation we deserve.
He is our only sure hope and future. There is no other way. Trusting that "whatever will be, will be" will leave us ruined.
Live rightly not casually: we can know the future
"Whatever will be, will be" is also a saying that promotes a laxity and casualness towards the future which will not serve us well. Although we cannot see the future we can know that we will die and we will stand before God to give an account for our lives.
What will we say to Him? We will not be able to excuse ourselves. Saying "whatever will be, will be" will not cut it nor help us and it will prove to have been a false assurance.
In the future only the purpose of the Lord will stand. So let us not boast in our arrogance about what tomorrow will bring but turn to Christ and cling to Him rather than the vague, deceptive hopes and sayings of this world! Let us commit our way and our work to Him that He may establish it.
Irenie How is young yet, by the grace of God, was saved while she was running away from and fighting against Him. God showed her that He is the Lord and she wants you to know this too. After becoming a Christian she finished studying to become a graphic designer and as this she currently works full-time in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Irenie How's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/irenie-how.html