“See you tomorrow!” I called as I left my office one Monday afternoon. However, rather than walking into the church office Tuesday morning, I was laying in bed, trying to sleep. In the middle of the night, I had met with a formidable foe, one that I had eluded for over five years: the flu. Because of my unavoidable rendezvous with the flu I was unable to follow through with my intention to be at work that Tuesday.
While laying in bed, recovering, I was reminded of James 4:13-16 which says, “Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city and spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil.”
My statement of “See you tomorrow!” Is very similar to the people James refers to who said, “Today or tomorrow we will….”
As someone who likes to plan, I can easily become frustrated by the unknown. I am overly fond of details, but my future often seems vague and very unclear. What does the big picture of my life look like? Where will I be three or five years from now? What will I do ten years from now? My unwanted encounter with my assailant the flu reminded me that I don’t even know what will happen ten hours from now.
The future is uncertain and unpredictable, yet we all have decisions to make. I make small decisions daily about things like what time I wake up in the morning, what I wear, what I eat, how I do my hair, which road I take to work, how I use my free time, and what I say and how I speak to people. I’ve made bigger decisions in life about things like making Jesus the Lord of my life, what school I went to, and where I have worked. There are things in my life that I can, and have decided. However, there are many things that I have experienced that I had absolutely no control over; things like having my car broken into, my school closing, or getting the flu. Sometimes I can only control my attitudes and responses.
My inability to control could be frightening and frustrating. But as James 4 indicates, presuming to control our lives is arrogant; the correct posture is one of humility. Our tomorrows, and even our todays, are subject to God’s will. Proverbs 16:9 says, “The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” When I stop to realize that God directs my steps, fear is replaced by peace and excitement. My best plans could never begin to compare to God’s. There are things in life (like a reunion with the flu) that I would prefer to avoid, but I know that God sees the big picture while it is still unclear to me. Maybe one day it will all make sense and become plain to me, but until then, life is a God-designed adventure being lived one unpredictable day at a time.