In James 4 we are told that when we make our plans to take God into our calculations. Proverbs admonishes us “in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths”. Note it doesn’t say to do nothing; but to move forward contingent on God’s will being done in the situation. “If God wills” we will go to such and such a place, and buy, and sell. And of course, it goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyways) that anything contrary to what the Bible teaches – for instance, something obviously harmful to our relationship with Him or others is out of court from the get-go. We are to act ethically and with love in all cases: it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that. Nor should it take much for us to know that we should support our families and give to those in need. These sort of things should be no-brainers and have the support of scripture.


What I take away from this is that it’s fine to plan; I doubt much would get done in life if we didn’t. My life is a gift from God, and He expects me to make the best use of it that I can. Learn. Develop. Grow.


But I need to make sure my designs make room for the circumstances God allows in my life; I mustn’t get bent out of shape if things don’t go my way, but to receive these things with a thankful heart. If I’m moving forward with some grand scheme and it comes off the tracks, how will I react? With anger, or thankfulness for God’s guidance? I think that’s the crucial difference. We are told to “cast all our cares” upon our Lord, but I see no assurance that our personal agendas are safe. Perhaps if my “cares” centre on what I want to get done – regardless of God’s will – I shouldn’t be surprised if they are frustrated from time to time.


In a word, our lives must go to the cross. Until we get to the point where we are willing to trust and to thank God for everything that comes our way, how can there be peace? And the life that makes room for God’s plans will be peaceful, because most of the anxiety in my life comes from seeing MY plans threatened. Worry comes when we don’t think God is going to let us have our way; when what we desire lines up with what God desires, worry evaporates.


And in all this, we must remember that people are important. We may apply ourselves to some rigorous discipline to achieve a legitimate goal; but there will be times when we risk harm to those we love by being too dedicated. Above all, love for others must be the guiding principle.


And this is the heart of making Him truly Lord of our lives. His desire to make me a son in practical fact is the issue; I’m not guaranteed a pleasant journey or one without hassles or hard work. What I am promised is provision for what is truly needful. If this seems a little pat, think of how we raise our own children. Do we give them everything they want, even things we know won’t do them much good? We will feed and clothe and educate them, and there will indeed be times of fun: but, we will also make sure they eat their veggies and build a bit of character helping with the chores. Nor will we be pleased if we catch them lying or cheating. Sending our children out into the world as well-integrated, caring individuals means there will be discipline as well as joy. But our children can, and should trust parents whose hearts are invested in their lives.