Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there, doing business and making money. ”Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wishes, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, commits sin.
Do you think God might be getting us right where He wants us? Seriously! Like the Bible’s great heroes of faith, we live at a time of great uncertainty about the future. Who knows where this worldwide pandemic will take us? Who knows where the economy is headed, the civil unrest, the political slugfest, and upcoming election? Is there anyone who doesn’t dread to see the news! We do not know matters once as simple as when schools reopen, businesses start again, and even to plan a wedding. It feels at times like the world is spinning out of control. That is why I am suggesting God might be getting us right where He wants us: less secure of ourselves and more reliant on Him!
These thoughts come to me as I read today’s scripture from James with his obvious but needed reminder: “Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring.” Our lives here are a “mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” James says we need a mindset about the future that says: “If the Lord wishes, we will live and do this or that.” We are being powerfully reminded that the future belongs to God and not to us. We cannot be forgetful of Him in thinking about and planning for the future.
James is writing to Jewish Christians “in the dispersion” (James 1:1). They are scattered far and wide across the Roman Empire facing a dangerous future. James tells them, and us, that to think presumptuously about the future is “arrogance” and “evil.” It is the sinful refusal to gratefully acknowledge that life is fragile and finite and totally dependent on God. To think otherwise is to succumb to the Serpent’s temptation: “You shall be like God.”
If we do not make God the center of our lives, something has to fill it. That something soon becomes us, a frail and feeble center on which to build a life or face the future. Back to my opening question! Is God getting us where He wants us, knowing well our desperate need for Him?
Scripture holds up Abraham as the paragon and father of the faithful, telling us that, by faith, Abraham “set out, not knowing where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8). It’s okay not to know where you are going, or what is going to happen next. Abraham never knew, nor did David, or the apostle Paul! But the one sure thing we can know about the future is that God goes with us! Let us mark this in our thinking: “So we can say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:6). So, each time you read news that frightens and unsettles you, know that the Father is drawing you close! He’s getting you right where He wants you! Close to His heart!
A fellow traveler,