a new year

Happy New Year to everyone. Isn’t it interesting the way that you never know what the new year holds?

Last year at this time, I was about to start a new job after a year of self employment and things were looking up for us. In less than four weeks from that point, Julie had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer, had had surgery and was about to start chemotherapy and radiation. our year took a completely different track than we were anticipating/planning.

Isn’t it interesting that both Paul and James make the point that we don’t know what is coming next but that God does. When we plan, we ought to make room for God’s will to be done in spite of our intentions.

James puts it this way:

13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

emphasis added.

we don’t have a clue what tomorrow will bring. We really truly don’t know anything about what is coming next. Only if it is God’s will, will our intentions turn into actions. It is incredibly presumptuous on our part to lay out our course and then retroactively ask God (or it seems increasingly as if we insist that God) bless it.

Paul had a similar train of thought (albeit in the midst of much tougher circumstances) going when he wrote the following:

3 I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. 4 As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. 5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. 6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, 7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, 12 which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. 13 Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

emphasis added

God is working out his plan for his own purpose and grace. Our job is to know in whom we have believed and to trust that he is able to keep us until the end.

So make your plans this year. Be prudent. But remember in your planning that it is God at work for his own purpose and grace and that he is the one who holds tomorrow. Trust in his sovereignty in the events to come even when these events deviate from your plans. Even when the deviations from your plans are highly unpleasant.

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