“yet you don’t know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” James 4:14
Joseph got up on a day like any other, but he didn’t know that it was the last time he would see his family for years. When the disciples feasted with Jesus, they didn’t realize that the next day would take him to the cross. Job didn’t realize one morning that the events of the day would bring him utter devastation and heartache. On a bright, sunny July morning, I had no idea it was the last time that I or my children would see my husband again in this world.
We can’t control the future, yet we live like we can. We plan our schedules and routines. We plan vacations and school years. We plan what camps our kids will go to in the summers, what Bible reading plan we’ll use, when we need to take a road trip. We plan our holidays and family gatherings. While planning isn’t bad (it’s a necessary and even good part of life), we do need to acknowledge that God alone is omniscient. We need to hold our future plans loosely so they can readily be changed by God. Sweet friend, this is hard to do at best, and it’s devastating at worst.
Less than a week before my husband died, he rolled up in the driveway with a brand new camper. His last Saturday on this earth, we sat in that thing and dreamed about the future and all the memories we’d make with our kids. We talked about all the places we’d go. The last couple months of his life we’d had a lot of conversations about what our future would look like. We talked about grandkids and a future house and lots of land. And you know what? It was pointless. Because when my husband’s plane went down, all of those plans crashed with him. Sure, I still dream about making memories with my kids and the days when I have a herd of grandkids coming and going. But it’s not the same. God wrenched those plans away from my grasp. But what if I viewed this properly? What if I remembered that God’s plan is infinitely better than my own because God knows all the things I don’t. What if I understood that God had taken away those plans because he had something different for me, something better?
You see, change is hard, but it’s during these uncertain times that God grows our faith. If you’re like me, you can look back at times in your life that didn’t go as planned and now you may have some clarity on why God allowed them. I struggled when we came back suddenly from the mission field. I had a hard time grasping that God had lead us to serve in foreign missions and we got rid of everything we had and went through all the hardship of living in third-world countries only to move back after a short 2 years. I didn’t get it then, but I can see more now. I can see that God was merciful to bring us back so we could establish a support system that would be in place when I lost my husband. I see now that God used that time to teach me to trust him even in difficult, stressful, uncertain, and unfamiliar circumstances. He was teaching me lessons in faith and endurance that I have desperately needed.
We don’t know what the future holds, but instead of fearing it, we can trust the God who knows all things. We can trust his plans for us, and we can trust him to keep his promises. We realize that he may change our plans. He may even rip away hopes and dreams we have, but he will only replace them with something better. Hold on to that hope today, sister. I can look back and see how God has brought me out of the valley of the shadow of death. There were times when I would be clawing my way out only to lose my footing and fall right back in again. But he has been so faithful every step of the way and has lead me out. I have a hope and joy that for so long I wondered if I’d ever have again. God can do a work in your life if you will just let him. Trust him now. Trust him with your future. Trust him with your dreams knowing he will never leave you or forsake you and that his plans for you are always for your good and His glory. No, we can’t control tomorrow, but we can worship the one who can and does, and rest in Him.