Thursday, March 19, 2020

James 4:13-17

James 4:13-17 
English Standard Version (ESV)

 How true this feels right now!  It wasn't that long ago that life felt relatively normal.  I made plans for the future with little fears that they wouldn't be fulfilled.  I had a half empty freezer and wasn't the least bit concerned about it.  My kids came home from school with the expectation that they'd go back the next day.  Life was normal.  And then... 
  Life is full of lessons we'd rather not learn, or lessons we'd prefer to learn in different ways than we actually learn them.  I have a rather long list of lessons that were painful, either physically or emotionally.  I suspect you do as well.  Life teaches us, one way or another.
  If our plans become idols, they can be dangerous.  If you invest every ounce of your emotional energy into a plan, whether it's for a job or retirement or a relationship, you're likely to end up disappointed.  If your plans had to change, would you be crushed?  Being disappointed is fine -- that's normal.  As someone with plane tickets to Europe right now, I'm disappointed.  But James is warning us that if we think we have control over the future to the point that changing our plans would lead us to despair, to devastation, then we've forgotten who the true Lord is.
  In life and in death, we belong to God.  Every day is a gift.  Every relationship is a gift.  Every breath is a gift.  When we start to think that they belong to us, that we're in ultimate control, that we determine our own fate, then we're forgetting that it is God who is in charge.  We're forgetting that we receive gifts from God.  We can't take them.
  Life is reminding us how fragile we are, how out of control we are.  This actual virus is tiny, and yet so many plans, so many lives, have been broken by it.  In these times, may we remember whose we are -- we are in such better hands than our own, for in God's hands, we know we have a permanent foundation, who will not be moved.  God tells us that God knows the plans for us, plans to prosper us.  In the Kingdom of God, we will see these plans come to fruition, and the result will be so much greater than we can ask or imagine.
  So breathe in.  Breathe out.  Let go of your need to be in control, and trust in the one who ultimately is in control.

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