JAMES 4.13-15 DEVOTION
13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” James 4.13-15.
The message of these verses is that it’s arrogant to make plans as if the future is ours to mould and shape as we see fit. For the future belongs to God to shape as He sees fit. And we are a mist that appears for a little while, then vanishes.
Some might see it is a little discouraging to describe us humans as something as insignificant as a “mist”. But I find it liberating to have this truth spelled out – a truth which is all too obvious to us every time we attend a funeral, and reflect on how quickly a human life runs its course.
The good news is that through faith in Christ, whose word stands forever, we can gain the permanence and security which we so desire. As the psalmist puts it, a person who fears the Lord “is like a tree planted by streams of water” (Psalm 1:3). What a wonderful image of the permanence and security we gain by God’s grace, when we are forgiven, adopted, and made heirs of his eternal kingdom.
COVID has been a powerful, two-year lesson in the fact that we cannot securely plan the future. Now that things are opening up again, let us not forget that lesson. It doesn’t mean that we won’t make plans for the future. Of course, we will. But as God’s children, we keep constantly in mind that the future belongs to God: “If the Lord wills, we will do this or that.”
Father, this is your world, and its future belongs to you. We are a vanishing mist. Thank you that we can become so much more than that mist through the forgiveness and adoption that comes to all who trust in Christ. Please grant and grow in us that faith. And help us always to make our plans knowing that you are the Lord of the future. In your Son’s name. Amen.