How are your plans turning out? Are you where you thought you would be last year? Five, ten or fifty years ago?
We joke about not buying green bananas – because we’re not so sure we’ll be around when they’re ripe enough to eat. But behind the humor is the sad fact that our fondest plans for the future may not come to pass. Our dearest dreams may get derailed. We cannot predict the maddening interruptions, the unexpected illnesses, nor the shoelace that snaps with no time left.
God does not forbid our every plan. Jesus spoke of “counting the cost.” And it was not raining when Noah built the ark. We plan for house payments and education costs. We don’t start preparing for the children’s Christmas service on Christmas Eve. Sermon preparation doesn’t start at 8 a.m. on Sunday. Life is full of sensible preparations, from homework to health care.
But it doesn’t take much for our dark side to transform sensible preparation into senseless worry over the things of tomorrow. It is easy to move from planning to presuming – like the rich fool in our Lord’s parable who said to himself: “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” The guy had it all figured out, all the bases covered. But he left God out of the equation, the God who said: “You fool! This very night your life will demanded from you.”
The world has always had its share of fools who live by their own forecast of fair conditions, or in sheer terror of what tomorrow may bring. God’s children know that their future is in better hands.
Years ago, the fathers would often put the letters D.V. in their writings – an abbreviation for the Latin phrase Deo Volente, that is, “God-willing.”
It’s a good and Biblical thing to say: “If the Lord wills…God willing…God permitting…we will do this or that.” (see James 4:15). In place of our fearless forecasting, God is looking for hearts of faith. Behind every plan and thought, God is looking for hearts which humbly trust that He has tomorrow firmly in His hand, hearts open to the divinely ordained interruptions which may take us down paths we had never planned on – but always in the hand of our Father. By a God-given faith in Jesus we call Him Father. Our perfect Father would never take us down the wrong path. His will is always best.
What better security for today and tomorrow could we have than to face the future unafraid by faith in Him who died and rose again for us, whose loving plans for us stretch from eternity to eternity. It may be trite, but it is still true: I do not know what the future holds, but I know Him who holds the future. Let us walk fearlessly into the year of our Lord 2017 – our hand in His.