Thursday, February 13, 2014

Changing Plans

“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’  As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.” (James 4:13-16 NIV)

My wife and I had plans to go to Charlotte today for a doctor’s appointment and then, since tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, to spend the night in a hotel and enjoy the day in the city.  Then the biggest snowstorm of the season descended upon this region and scuttled our plans and those of many others.  

We tend to assume all of our plans are going to work out until they don’t, whether they be plans for life or merely plans for the weekend.  Many college students envision what their lives are going to look like after graduation.  Newlyweds visualize their married lives as going exactly as they plan them.  Older couples picture their lives in retirement.  They will all be surprised and disappointed to some extent because life never goes the way we plan it in our minds.  

Now James is not condemning planning in one’s life.  In fact, there are a number of Scriptures that speak of the wisdom of planning (Proverbs 6:6-8, for example). No, what James is condemning is the arrogance we sometimes have in thinking that we are in control of our lives; what we plan will happen.  And that arrogance tends to blind us to the fragility of our lives.  We are not masters of our universe.  In fact, our lives can end or be dramatically altered in the blink of an eye.  Look around.  It happens all the time.  

What James wants us to understand is only God is in complete control. We are completely dependent upon Him, whether we realize it or not. But when we do recognize our dependence, we are naturally humbled and submissive to His will which is good and perfect (Romans 12:2)

Today, know that you can make plans for your life, but recognize your plans may not be God’s plans.  If yours don’t quite work out, don’t fear or be disappointed.  The plans of God are always better in the long run.  

© Jim Musser 2014

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