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September 19, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”—James 4:14-15 (NKJV)
I love to plan. I get a sense of satisfaction when Monday rolls around and I know my week is organized and scheduled. Perhaps my years working as a journalist drilled into me the benefits of making short-term and long-range plans so I could meet my deadlines. But guess what? Even with all the planning and training in the world, some things never go as expected. Call it Murphy’s Law. Call it what you want. I simply say, “Life happens.”
James has a better explanation: the Lord’s will. In the above verse, James illustrates the concept of time and how it cannot be viewed through human lenses. He says quite bluntly that we don’t know what will happen tomorrow. So if that’s the case, you may wonder, Should I stop planning then?
Planning is not the problem. James is simply saying we must plan with prayer—asking for wisdom from the Holy Spirit to help us embrace God’s timing to know and do His will (James 1:5-6 and Ephesians 5:15-18). Ultimately, we recognize our Father knows best, even though we may not see it like that at first.
Life is short. James describes it as a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes. And while it is easy to be tempted to make plans as if we are going to be here for a long time, we don’t know the time or the place when the Lord will call us home, or when He will return.
Planning without prayer is like going on a road trip without a GPS. There’s a class of people, of which I am a part, who suffer from geographical “dyslexia.” We are chronically lost. In town, out of town, I depend on my GPS. Likewise, no matter where I am or what I’m doing, I depend on God’s direction. Without it, I am lost. My daily prayer goes something like this, “Not my will, Father, but yours be done this day. In Jesus’ holy name I ask it. Amen.”
Dig: Read James 1:5-6 and Ephesians 5:15-18.
Discover: How has God shown Himself to be your navigator, mapping out your life ahead of you?
Display: Trust in God, the Father, and let His Son, Jesus, show you the way. Read His Word and follow the step-by-step directions to godly living.