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“What are you doing next Thursday?” I open my calendar and respond, “Let me check. Oh, I’m open that day.” Without a second thought, I add another appointment to my calendar. I make plans without consideration to God’s plan for my life.

But James reminded us in chapter 4, verses 13-15, that we should not take the future for granted. In verse 13-14, he wrote: “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 (NIV).” Its a sobering statement that reminds us we have no guarantees for tomorrow.

In the next verse, James wrote: “Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’” I don’t think it is James’ intent to have us be morbid all the time and say with every appointment or plan, “We will do this if we’re alive tomorrow.” I see it as more of a reminder for us to engage God in our plans; to seek his counsel; to have a willingness to change our plans to pursue what God puts in front of us each day. It is a recognition that God holds your life in his hands.

Telling others, “God willing,” when we plan for the future reminds them that we are not the master of our life. It communicates our openness to letting God work in our life, our willingness to set aside our plans for his will. It is a statement of our faith in God, an admission that we actually don’t control our life.

© 2019 CGThelen

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