In January 1957, the following quote by writer, journalist, and cartoonist Allen Saunders was published in Reader’s Digest magazine: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” Those same words also appeared 23 years later in the lyrics of the 1980 song by John Lennon, “Beautiful Boy.” Another way of putting the sentiment of these words would be, “Go ahead and make your plans but live one day at a time because you don’t know what tomorrow will bring.” Proverbs 27:1 in the Good News Translation says, “Never boast about tomorrow. You don’t know what will happen between now and then.”
The truth is that we can make all of the plans we want to make, but we don’t know what will happen tomorrow. Life is uncertain. James 4:14 (NET) says, “You do not know about tomorrow. What is your life like? For you are a puff of smoke that appears for a short time and then vanishes.” Life is also as complex as a good mystery novel. It is made up of minutes, hours, and days that are filled with people, places, and things. And each day, we may be called upon to make decisions, some of which may be critical, and some which may be routine and even mundane. And while there is nothing wrong with making plans, and we should do so, we must never allow pride or arrogance to cause us to boast about our plans (James 4:16). When we make plans, they should be made saying, “This is what I will do, if it’s God’s will (James 4:15).”
When we do things in accordance with God’s will, when we place His will above our plans, then we are doing what Jesus taught in Matthew 6:33-34 (NET) when He said, “But above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. So then, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own.” Trusting in our own plans can lead to anxiety, but when we trust in God’s will for us, in His plan for us, and do so with all our hearts, then we can walk in confidence, knowing that He will guide us each step of the way (Proverbs 3:5-6). And we can face life with the certainty that God’s plans for us are never to harm us, but rather to prosper us (Jeremiah 29:11).
Living life based on our own plans brings uncertainty, but life in accordance with the will of God brings certainty, even when we don’t know what tomorrow will bring.
Scripture quotations marked GNT are taken from the Good News Translation — Second Edition. Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NET) are from The NET Bible® Copyright © 2005 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. www.bible.org All rights reserved.