June 7, 2012
Read: James 4:13-17
Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” —James 4:15
Life is full of surprises—some of which take life in unwelcome directions. I still remember the shockwave that hit our family several decades ago when my father lost his job through no fault of his own. With a house full of kids to feed, it was a jarring blow. But as certainly as Dad’s job loss was beyond his control and unexpected, he still knew he could trust God for his future.
As Jesus’ followers, we must recognize that there are things in life that are the “uncontrollable unexpected,” as I call them. To help us in those moments, James 4:13-15 offers this wisdom: “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit’; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. . . . Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.’ ” The people to whom James was writing were making plans while excluding God’s prerogative to direct their lives.
Is it wrong to plan for the future? Of course not. It is unwise, however, to forget that God may allow some “uncontrollable unexpected” events as He sees fit. Ultimately, all that happens is for the best—even when it’s hard to see. We must trust Him and His plans for our future.
I know who holds the future,
And I know who holds my hand;
With God things don’t just happen—
Everything by Him is planned. —A. Smith
We may not know what the future holds, but we can trust the One who holds the future.