Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” 14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” 16 But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. James 4:13-16
Recently Emily was telling me about her boss at Bethlehem, who is the pastor of senior high discipleship. He has a child with severe disabilities and had a really hard background from which Jesus saved him. He was telling the staff a story one day and talking about how he remembered that are our lives really are at the mercy of God. Emily was telling me how he often says “if God wills,” but not in a contrite or meaningless way. He says it as a reminder of the actuality that not a day more is promised.
That conversation was profound for me. I so easily make plans or think of what my life will look like next year or in 5, 10, 20 years. And as I’ve realized with trying to grow our family, my plans often fall short. When I was 10 I always used to say “when I get married” or “when i get a job” or “when I become a mom.” Now, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that God gives and God takes away. My “old school plan” (as I describe it now) was to have 5-6 kids, stay at home with them and then when they were older, perhaps foster for a while. And that plan is beginning to look very different than I thought we would. Obviously, even if we adopt we could still have a large family, but I’ve realized that the way our family looks is not the way I planned – It’s Jesus’ plan. Now it’s “if we get pregnant,” “if we get to have kids.” This isn’t necessarily in a hopeless “it’s never gong to happen” way. But more that I’ve become so aware of God’s will and how it sometimes is completely different and seemingly opposite of mine. But knowing that His providence and His plan is good and much better than mine would be!
With that realization, I want to remember deeply when I make plans or goals to say “IF God wills we will live and also do this or that.” Nothing happens without him – no breath, no relationships, nothing. You are living today because God has sustained your heart and your lungs to work properly. Praise Him for that! He is powerful and He is good.
“If the Lord wills…”