But during my recent illness, all my plans went out the window and I realized that I am not as in control of my time and my life as I like to think I am.
When I was talking about this with a friend of mine, she reminded me of this verse from Scripture:
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15
So I have taken up the practice of prefacing my plans with the disclaimer, “If the Lord wills … ” And I do not find that confining or pessimistic in any way. I am just relaying to others that my plans are not up to me ultimately; they are up to God.
It is hard for us as humans to not be in control. But the reality is, we are better off in the long run, of course, because God is in control. If we as human beings are left to our own devices and try to take matters into our own hands, the outcome (as we have seen lately with the rash of shootings and terrorist attacks) is pretty disastrous.
In contrast, we know that the plans of God are always good:
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
So we don’t need to worry when we put our plans in God’s hands. He will make sure that everything will work out for us in the end. As Scripture tells us:
We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
His love for us is revealed in his grand purpose for us.
Our role model in all our this, of course, is Christ, who being fully human as well as fully divine, asked his Father on the night before his crucifixion:
If it be possible, let this cup pass from me. Matthew 26:39
But he ends his prayer by saying:
… nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will. Matthew 26:39
Sound familiar? Sounds a lot like ‘If the Lord wills, we will do this or that.”
I love how modern this passage from James is and how practical and conversational it sounds.
Our goal as Christians is to incorporate our desire to do the Lord’s will into simply a part of who we are, a natural element of the conversation, and a normal practice in our day-to-day planning.
Kenny McCaughey, the Iowa father of septuplets who recently left home for college and the military, put it this way, “My trust in the Lord was such that he has a plan for each one, and it was a matter of me waiting and praying and hoping that God’s individual plan would work out for each of their lives” (Associated Press article in St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 28, 2016). Well said, Kenny!