Today’s Reading: James 4
Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog – it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” Otherwise you are boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil. Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.”
– James 4: 13 – 17
In the past 6 years, I have moved 6 times.
I’ve gotten used to living out of a suitcase and to building new community in new places. I’ve gotten used to making great friends and then having to say goodbye as we part ways to do new things. It hasn’t been easy and lately, I’ve been feeling the loneliness that comes with moving around from place to place. I miss my family back in Scotland and my friends from all over the world. Part of me longs for somewhere to call home and to build a life that is more permanent. But I wouldn’t change the past 6 years for anything.
I’d love to share a couple of thoughts from my experiences on ‘future planning’ and how we approach those conversations that we are literally asked about ALL THE TIME as a young person.
1. God has taught me that following Him means actually, physically following Him at times and in saying yes to that calling, He can take you to places you never expected or even imagined.
When we look at people in the Bible, God often calls them to physically go somewhere – to a specific person (Acts 9: Ananias), to a new Country/ place (Genesis: Jacob) or even up a mountain (Exodus 19: Moses). Every time those people follow God’s calling, He speaks, He moves, He transforms in amazing ways. I don’t imagine it was always easy for them either but when they are obedient and go where He calls, God shows up and reveals wonderful truths. It may not be moving to a new country for you, but God may be calling you to ‘go’ in other ways. Maybe He has plans for a relationship you have or maybe He has planted an idea for something in your heart and is asking you to ‘go’ and start developing that seed into a reality. I would encourage you to spend time in prayer listening to where God is calling you to ‘go’ because if I have learned anything through my relationship with Jesus, it is that God is never stagnant – He is always on the move.
2. If COVID-19 has revealed anything to us, it’s that we are not in as much control as we think. We are not immune to outside factors interrupting our plans.
In the scripture passage above, James reminds us that we actually don’t know what tomorrow will look like so why do we speak as if we do? This is actually super convicting because every single day we talk about our plans for the coming days, weeks and even years. We speak with authority without even realising it. In reality, we can’t possibly know if what we want or think will happen actually will. What we can know is that God is always present, always at work and always ready for us to come to Him. I catch myself planning my morning routine and even outfit in bed the night before, filling my final moments of the day with plans for the next. What if I let that control go and spent my final moments reflecting on how God has worked that day, thanking Him for what He has given me and surrendering my fears and plans for tomorrow. On a bigger scale, when people ask what your ‘long-term plans’ are, what if we said ‘whatever God calls me to’ instead of a blueprint map of our step by step 5-year plan. That seems dramatic and I don’t think planning is always bad, but if only God knows what tomorrow holds, aren’t we wasting a lot of time making plans for things that may never even happen? Wouldn’t it benefit our soul way more to spend that time releasing control and leaning into Christ our guide?
With more uncertainty in front of us than ever before, perhaps we have a greater opportunity to surrender control than ever before. Following God is a wild adventure that is not always easy but promises life and life to the full. We can only truly experience that if we let go of the things holding us back.
Grace and Peace,
A Digital Refresh is a regular series for the staff at Mini-Yo-We.
When we gather together for worship and learn from God’s word we call it “Refresh.” Even though we aren’t at camp we can still gather together to share God’s word through a Digital Refresh.
For more resources check out our summer staff resource page.