13 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.”14 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.15 What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.”
If our lives are like a morning fog, and we are only here for such a short time, then what does it matter if we chase after the things our hearts desire? What does it matter if we just sit on our sofas and waste our lives watching shows about ‘real people’ doing laundry, and going tanning, and killing it at the gym in preparation for something called “T-Shirt Time?” If we confess our faith in God and believe that Jesus died for our sins, then why don’t we just die in that moment?
Because the Lord wants more for our lives. He gave us those desire in our hearts. He planted the seeds of our dreams deep down inside of us. Sometimes it take a few years for those seeds to sprout. Sometimes we know from a very young age what our purpose is. And sometimes we need to go through a time of correction, and preparation before those seeds even make themselves known.
James is also telling us here that making plans is practically useless. I can’t say I agree with him 100%, but I can see where he is coming from. Just because we think we know what God has in store for us doesn’t mean we can plan out the rest of our lives, follow that plan, and achieve all the things we want to achieve. If that were that case then there would be a lot more successful people out there. There would be a lot less blogs and a lot more published books. There would be a lot more billion dollar valuation .coms and a lot less bootstrapped startups begging venture capitalists for money.
If we could make plans, follow them exactly, and achieve all that we desire, then what would be need God for? God is there to be glorified in our achievements, and relied upon in our times of fear and doubt. We find joy in our success, and we find joy in our failures. In our failures we learn to put our trust in God. We learn to take our eyes of our self and put them on him.
In my experience, God does not show us the entire path, but rather he shows us the next step, and we can choose to take that step or not. If we are smart, we lay aside our fears of failure or embarrassment, we cast out the “yeah, but…” and we take the step because God, our father, is standing there with his hand stretched out, waiting for us to grab a hold of him.
Yes, our lives are short, they will be over before we know it. But somehow I have a feeling that what we do down here can make a real difference in what we do up there. We have dreams and desires because God needs us to do his work here on earth.
We can make plans all day long, but if we aren’t willing to change those plans when God shows us the next step, then we are walking away from him. And that seems like a very dark path to walk to me.
What path are you walking?