“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.’” James 4:13-16
“In his heart, a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
Who’s in charge around here? Clearly, it is not me. And that really bothers a control freak like me. Bummer.
I had great plans to get up this morning, straighten the house, clean the kitchen, get more laundry started, and then go to the paint store. Then I wanted to start prepping the walls so I can start painting the dining room later this week.
Instead, I woke up at 5am with a terrible migraine, so I took some Imitrex and promethazine and went back to bed. I finally got out of bed at 10am, took more Imitrex, and have been knitting and listening to a book since then. There go all my plans for the day.
Was I ever really in charge, though? No. God has a plan for my life and it may or may not include the plans that I make. Does that mean that we shouldn’t order our lives? I believe that God’s intention is for us to arrange our lives, but then to understand and accept that God’s will may be different.
In Matthew, Jesus says “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:27). Some friends and I were discussing yesterday how little control we really have over our lives. A friend of mine who takes excellent care of herself (physically and emotionally) recently had a hemorrhagic stroke and is looking at a very long-term recovery. Ten years ago, my dear aunt who had never smoked cigarettes died of lung cancer. A friend who is my own age has breast cancer.
God is in control. He has given us commands to follow in the Bible. The book of Proverbs gives us all kinds of wisdom, including information about preparing for the future. It’s OK (and prudent and important) to prepare for tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. Yet we must remember that God is in ultimate control. When our plans are turned upside down, it is not the end of the world. In fact, it’s all part of God’s final, beautiful tapestry.
So, keep your calendar organized, send your offerings to churches and charities, save money for your retirement and your kids’ college educations. But when that curve ball gets thrown, remember that God isn’t worried because He’s got it all worked out. He loves us. In the light of eternity, we’re just here learning to love and worship Him.
And now, I’m off to knit a hat. It’s my new scheme for this headache-y day.
What do you do when a wrench is thrown into your day? How do you handle it when a plan comes apart?