Hold Tomorrow Humbly
Woody Allen says, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”
James 4:13-15 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.” 14 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. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
Who is the author addressing?
Everyone who’s tempted to control their own destiny.
Everyone who’s dictating their plans to the world.
Everyone who’s already got it all figured out.
To anyone who’s told the universe their five-year plan.
James says hold your plans humbly. Because you don’t know the future, we have no idea what’s around the corner. Now, you could hear this and jump immediately into anxiety.
But Jesus says we don’t have to fear tomorrow:
Matt. 6:31-34 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
I keep forgetting that when I’m afraid, what’s in my head is often bigger than what is actually around the corner. This week I took my eight-year-old son on his first “upside down” roller coaster. Not just one, but two loops and a corkscrew - all in the dark. When we were standing in line, he was so nervous I thought his heart would beat right out of his chest.
But he jumped on and in 70 seconds, when it was all over, he turned to me and said, “That’s it?”
Not long ago I was unraveling about some fears of my own future. A friend and mentor asked me, “What are you afraid of?” I responded, “I’m afraid of what might happen to my kids if X happens.” He countered, “What does that tell you about your view of God?” I said, “That God doesn’t care about my family as much as I do.”
God knows we don’t know the future, but he does. In fact, Jesus tells his friends, “I’m going to prepare a house for you.” And later, on the first Easter morning he says, “I’m going ahead of you to Galilee.” Author Eugene Peterson says Jesus goes before us… everywhere. Into every day, every meeting, every conversation.
It’s true, life is unpredictable. And yes, life is short. But if God is at work in it, we can lean into every minute like it matters.