I’m going to retire in three years and then buy an RV and tour the country.
I’m going to potty train my two-year-old this month and then we can be done with diapers.
After I graduate, I’m going to take a year off to work full time and then I’ll go to college.
I’m going to get all the laundry done today.
All of these are fine plans. We’ve all made plans similar to these. Generally speaking, making and carrying out plans is a very good thing, far better than living without any plan or direction. However, as with the examples above, sometimes our best laid plans don’t pan out. In 2020, God has taught us to hold all our plans loosely.
Sometimes we can forget that God is the one with the master plan, and all our plans are subject to his will. If you forget this, then you may begin to think that you are the master of your fate and whatever you choose to do, you will do. The world we live in preaches this message everywhere: you can do anything you put your mind to! No one can stop your dreams but you!
Once again, we should make plans, set goals, make a long term schedule, keep a calendar, etc. But let’s pump the brakes and keep everything in the right perspective.
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.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.
James admonishes us that the Lord is God and we are not. All our plans and goals are subject to his ultimate governance. And we would be wise to preface all our plans with: If the Lord wills.
If the Lord wills… I will have enough saved up to retire in three years.
If the Lord wills… I will get married in June.
If the Lord wills… We will only have two kids.
If the Lord wills…
We would honor God and live wisely if we made all our plans humbly acknowledging God’s sovereignty. The added benefit of this is that if something doesn’t go your way, you can say with joy, it wasn’t God’s will. And since you know, Christian, that because he has good plans for you even your disappointments are for your ultimate good.
Some things will turn out just as you planned, some will not. And that’s ok. God is wiser than you and he cares for you and he has a plan for you. So by all means, make plans, but submit them to God. This is part of what we mean when we pray, Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
I encourage you to actually put this into practice this week. Add this phrase to your vocabulary whenever you are talking about making plans for the future: “Lord willing” or “If the Lord wills.”
I’ll see you Sunday, Lord willing.