We had some good plans— worthwhile, helpful, and productive plans. But you know how quickly your plans can go awry, right?
On the last Sunday of 2018, my wife Chris planned to stop by our son and daughter-in-law’s house to pick up our grandson for church. The whole family wasn’t able to make it because of the newest bundle of joy added to the family (a granddaughter!). The night before we had some mixed precipitation—rain, sleet, then a touch of snow—and it was considerably colder than the day before! Anyway, Chris got Clayton and was carrying him to the car to help keep him warm. But as quickly as you can say “Ouch!” Chris’s feet slipped out from under her and she was lying on the pavement. Fortunately Clayton was unhurt, though stunned. But Chris? Well, she just lay there for a bit until our daughter-in-law came running out and helped her up. She had landed on her elbow and hip, and could hardly move either. The pain was excruciating. Nevertheless, she made it to church, hobbling along and nursing the aching elbow. Over the next few days, she wasn’t improving at all. Well, the elbow seemed to be getting better, but she could hardly walk. Nearly every movement was painful. The concern, of course, for anyone past age 50 who falls and lands on the hip is a fractured hip or pelvis, which can require surgery, physical therapy, and lots of time for healing.
Finally, a week later—yes, a week!—we made the trip to our chiropractor for some x-rays and a recommended treatment plan. In a matter of a couple minutes, he determined she needed no x-rays and hadn’t broken anything; she bruised the bone pretty badly and has some pinched nerves. He then suggested the treatment protocol, which will involve weekly trips for adjustments and some steps (literally) in the meantime.
Now I share all of this in light of last week’s post about setting goals in light of James 4:13-15. Chris had some goals that had nothing to do with mostly sitting around. I had made some plans for how I was going to spend this past Monday and Tuesday, and they didn’t include the trip to the chiropractor, which for us ends up being a day trip. As it turns out, I got about 20% done of what I’d planned, and got a bunch of stuff done that wasn’t even in my original plan!
So indeed, “you don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow” (James 4:14). You have it all planned out, hour by hour. You know the materials you’re going to need to work on that project and get them all lined up. You look forward to getting at it and getting it done. Then your feet slip out from under you—and just like that, tomorrow’s plans are upended with you! It reminds me of one of the proverbs: “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps“ (Proverbs 16:9)—and they may be on some hidden patch of ice that will significantly alter what the heart planned!
Which brings us back to James 4:15 when making plans, establishing goals, looking to the future: “For you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’” Now the wonderful thing about that, for those who are in Christ Jesus, is the promise God has made: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28). So we sit if need be, change plans if we have to, get the treatment necessary, and so on, in faith believing that God has a purpose in altering our plans that ultimately will be even better than what we had planned!