Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.
— James 4:13–14
This being my last letter for the circuit, I thought I would take this opportunity to remind each of us about the need for God to be at the centre of all our plan making. The Bible doesn’t condemn the person who makes plans for the future. Rather, it criticises the person or fellowship that makes those plans with no thought whatsoever for the will of God. That is a dangerous thing to do. God won’t share His glory with another.
There is nothing wrong with making plans. Paul told the believers in Ephesus that he would return for renewed ministry amongst them, “God willing” (Acts 18:21). He wrote to the Corinthians that he planned another visit “if the Lord willed” (1 Corinthians 4:19). On other occasions, Paul spoke of his plans to do certain things and how the Lord changed his plans. We have our plans. We have our purposes. We have our agendas. But the Lord may redirect us.
Jesus taught us to pray, “Your will be done” (Luke 11:2). Our prayers will be effective and successful when we align our will with the will of God and pray accordingly.
Prayer is not getting our will in heaven; it is getting God’s will on earth. It is not moving God our way; it is moving ourselves His way.
We need to remember that His will may be different from ours. And we must be willing to accept that.
The God who knows you inside out also knows what lies ahead for you in life. We can always fall back on the simple promise of Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
So as we prepare to go our separate ways, I want to encourage you that, God’s plans for you are better than any plans you have for yourself. So don’t be afraid of God’s will, even if it’s different from yours.
Reverend Martin Swan