13 Pay attention, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such-and-such a town. We will stay there a year, buying and selling, and making a profit.” 14 You don’t really know about tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for only a short while before it vanishes. 15 Here’s what you ought to say: “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”
If you’ve ever played games, then you’ve noticed how they parallel life. Monopoly is about who can acquire the most property and money. Chess is about strategy and power. Whack-A-Mole, at least to adults, resembles what it’s like to respond to a typical day’s demands. All these games have winners and losers and require planning and skill. When you are winning, you feel in control. When you are losing, it all feels out of your control.
The truth, is we’re not in control and it doesn’t take a stock market drop or a viral pandemic to remind us of this fact. Like mist, we know our lives are fragile. Our attempt to control our lives is an illusion based on fear and the arrogant belief that we know best. Of course, planning for the future is important and the responsible thing to do, but are we first seeking God’s will? Who’s really in control of our lives? James is reminding us that when we put God first in our lives, and give up our control to God, then we have a place of refuge in life’s storms. When we ignore God, and try and run our lives without him, then we really are out of control.
By Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
God loves you! No matter what is going on in your life, have you surrendered your will to God? Giving up our false idea of control and trusting in God’s plan for us is hard. Living our lives out of control is harder. James says that we ought to say, “If the Lord wills,” not as a casual statement, but as a reminder to us that we are here to do God’s will, not our own, as we do the work of his Kin-dom.
Prayer: Lord, don’t let my desires blind me to your will; give me peace with whatever your plan is. Amen.