Jas 4:13 Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit."
Jas 4:14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.
Jas 4:15 Instead, you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that."
I was in the crew office at work the other afternoon when it came to my attention that a fellow employee was back at work. He is a great guy and gets along well with everyone. He has a wine making business on the side so he is the local supplier of wine to those around my work who partake.
He has been with the company for over 35 years and in January and February he took all of his vacation days and personal days off and made plans to plant more grapes, buy more oak barrels, and up his wine making capacities. He is going to retire and spend his retirement doing what he loves to do... make wine. While on his time off he discovered something new about his health... he has lung cancer and now he is back to work and fighting this new found stumbling block. He needs the insurance benefits so he is now unable to have the time off to pursue his passion and dreams.
A week ago news spread quickly that two kids were walking adjacent to a fast moving freight train waiting for it to clear the tracks so they could cross and get to school on time. Just two young kids with headphones on walking to school enjoying a beautiful spring morning. Unfortunately they were standing in the middle of another main line and there just so happened to be a passenger train barreling down on them at 79 miles per hour. Within an instant they were dead. No recognizable body parts to be found other than dental parts.
Life has a funny way of throwing us a curve ball in an instant. We all have been there. One day you think this is going to happen and then something else takes place. It shouldn't be a surprise to us that life is unpredictable and may not go the way we think it is supposed to. There are a lot of promises in the Bible but I can't remember any that say life is going to go just the way we planned it.
James shares a sobering truth that is real in all of our lives. Verse 14: Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. A vapor, a mist, or a wisp of fog. We don't have a clue what tomorrow is going to bring, yet we live as though we have it all planned out. James says in the next verse that such is boasting and arrogance. Making plans for our life is a good thing, but I believe God wants us to include Him in those plans. Otherwise they are just empty boasting and that boasting is evil.
Now all the circumstances that change our plans in life in an instant aren't always bad things. Sure bad things do affect our lives instantly on many occasions, but the Bible also shares stories of hope that show that sometimes we have things change our life instantly for the good too.
The story of Joseph in the book of Genesis tells us of a younger brother who was favored by God. But that didn't mean that difficulties didn't come his way. He was hated by his brothers, thrown on the side of the road and left for dead, sold into slavery and eventually put in prison for two years unjustly. But throughout all of the struggles he never lost his favor with God and ultimately the struggles he went through equipped him to be Pharaoh's right hand man. You see, one morning he woke up in a prison and that evening he went to bed in a palace. It is an amazing story of God's faithfulness to those he calls to Him.
Gen 41:14 Then Pharaoh sent and called for Joseph, and they hurriedly brought him out of the dungeon; and when he had shaved himself and changed his clothes, he came to Pharaoh.
Gen 41:15 Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I have had a dream, but no one can interpret it; and I have heard it said about you, that when you hear a dream you can interpret it."
So Joseph interprets the dream and look what happens next.
Gen 41:40 "You shall be over my house, and according to your command all my people shall do homage; only in the throne I will be greater than you."
Gen 41:41 Pharaoh said to Joseph, "See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt."
Gen 41:42 Then Pharaoh took off his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph's hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen and put the gold necklace around his neck.
Gen 41:43 He had him ride in his second chariot; and they proclaimed before him, "Bow the knee!" And he set him over all the land of Egypt.
Gen 41:44 Moreover, Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Though I am Pharaoh, yet without your permission no one shall raise his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt."
Gen 41:45 Then Pharaoh named Joseph Zaphenath-paneah; and he gave him Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On, as his wife. And Joseph went forth over the land of Egypt.
There are many stories of God's people going through difficulties and struggles that change there life in an instant. And many stories of hope and redemption of others who's lives are changed for the good in an instant. We don't know what tomorrow is going to bring us so God wants us to cling to Him today. Ask yourself today, "Do I have the favor of God on me today?" If you don't know then turn to Him and accept Him as your Lord and Savior. He wants to have an intimate relationship with you and is waiting for you to turn your face towards his.
If you are in God's favor today then praise God. Even though times might seem brutally difficult right now He wants us to remember that He is shaping us to be all that He is preparing us to be. We are but a vapor on this earth and when our focus is on Him and our eternal life then the struggles we have down here can't hold a candle to the magnificence of knowing Him.
Lord, thank you for your Word. It brings forth truth and understanding every day. You are an awesome God and I praise you today for showing me that my plans are subject to you and your guidance. Please show me the plans you have for me.