I started writing this blog two days after Christmas, on an icy West Texas morning, sitting on the side of I-20. We had just finished rendering aid at two separate rollover wrecks that we watched happen.
The verses haunted – and humbled – me again as I sat at the hospice bedside of one of my first family friends who is dying of cancer at 35.
Tomorrow is not promised. This is something we know, right? We know it, but we so often don’t believe it until something tragic happens. Until those trucks roll over in slow motion right in front of us. Until someone we love dies unexpectedly. Until something unfathomable becomes reality.
If I’m being honest, there’s a broken part of me that lets anxiety and fear well up when I think about the uncertainty of life. I want to see my kids grow up. I long to spend decades with my husband. I like to plan. I like to feel in control.
Today’s verses say, “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.” James 4:14
This is an idea that we see repeated in Scripture.
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life . . . . And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? . . . Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.” Matthew 6:25-34
“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.” Proverbs 27:1
These instructions are presented in James in the context of businessmen who are planning to travel and make money in other cities. But the point isn’t specifically about business or money or death. James’ words are speaking to the attitude of our minds and to the inclination of our hearts as we travel through this world.
It is arrogant and prideful (“evil” per James 4:16) to assume that we are in charge of writing our own stories or to assume that we know the outcome. We need to structure our lives and expectations in reverence and humble obedience to God’s sovereignty.
This lesson is about truly believing in our hearts and minds – and professing with our mouths – that God is in control. He numbers our days. He decides how the details of our individual lives fit into the overall plan for humanity. And despite my initial reservation at the uncertainty, there’s something very freeing about this. I am not in control – and that’s a good thing. I oversleep and burn the toast and forget and lose my temper. Thanks be to God that He has this whole mess under control (even when it feels like a mess).
This isn’t to say that it’s wrong to make plans or to make money.
This isn’t to say that it’s wrong to have big aspirations or to petition God in prayer.
This isn’t to say that we should be haphazard, irresponsible wanderers.
It is to say that we should keep the truth of God’s sovereignty at the core of our being. It should inform our thoughts and spill over into our words.
Lord willing. Lord willing. Lord willing.
Paul demonstrated this for us when he said, “I will come to you soon if the Lord wills” in 1 Corinthians 4:19 and when he said, “I will return to you again if God wills” in Acts 18:21.
These words are timely for me as I think about the fresh start of this new year and all I hope to accomplish. I pray that the posture of my life would be kneeling – not only literally when I pray but also symbolically when I make plans and when I speak. We live in a self-righteous culture that says to stand tall, but I pray that people would perceive in my life the honor it is to serve our King by kneeling and submitting in all circumstances.
Let’s commit to fix our minds and focus our hearts on God’s will. And let’s join each other at the foot of the cross in worship and humble obedience.
“Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
By God’s grace go I. And, Lord willing, we have a lot of growth and adventures ahead of us this year.
Grace and peace,
Sara is a West Texas girl, currently living outside of Dallas. She adores her husband of 14+ years and delights in the daily chaos of raising and discipling their 3 young girls. She is also a physician, specializing in MRI imaging.
Sara is an encouraging friend, intentional at developing authentic relationships. She has a heart for supporting women and families, and she is passionate about Bible translation.
Week 4 Challenge: Not waiting for tomorrow, who do you need to reach out to today and let them know how much you love them? Instead of waiting for next week, month or year…what changes do you need to make today to start living your life for God instead of for yourself? Don’t delay your obedience to what God is calling you to do…start today.
Week 4 Reading Plan
Week 4 Memory Verse
Friends, we are excited to announce our next study, Fear & Anxiety: Learning to Overcome with God’s Truth!
Begins: February 26th
You can grab your copy of this powerful 6-week study on Amazon here!