You have no idea what your life will be like tomorrow. 

We can all vividly remember how quickly our lives changed two years ago at the onset of the global pandemic. As we lived through months of lockdown, most of our plans had to be cancelled or changed. We might have even wondered if we should bother to make plans!

In today’s first reading, James isn’t saying that we shouldn’t plan ahead. He just wants us to realize that many things are out of our control. As we know, even our best-laid plans can sometimes fall apart. So how do we go about making plans, all the while knowing that we can’t always count on them?

The solution is to bring God into the planning process. Even when we’re fairly certain of what we want to do—whether that pertains to our careers, our families, or even our vacations—we can bring our plans to the Lord in prayer. As we pray and listen, we may sense him confirming our plans. At other times, we may sense him leading us down a different path or asking us to put things on hold for a time. And if God seems to be silent, then we can go ahead with our plans even as we continue to seek his blessing.

Yet what if our circumstances suddenly change? This can tempt us to doubt God’s ability to guide us—and we might even blame him for the change in plans! But James reminds us of the attitude we should take: “If the Lord wills it, we shall live to do this or that” (4:15). Which means that as we make our plans, we should always remember that everything depends on the grace and mercy of God.

So don’t grasp too tightly to any of your plans! Instead, trust in God’s faithful care for you, and believe that he is still at work in spite of an unexpected development. Then when your plans are disrupted—even quite unexpectedly, as they were with Covid—you can still have peace and confidence. “The peace of God that surpasses all understanding” will, in fact, sustain you because you have placed your hope and trust in God and not in the outcome of your plans and decisions (Philippians 4:7).

“Lord, guide me in all my comings and goings.”

Psalm 49:2-3, 6-11
Mark 9: 38-40
James 4:13-17


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