Deo Volente (Lord willing)
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit” — yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” — James 4:13-15
Two words upon which everything depends. It is one of the reasons that the Lord Jesus teaches us to pray this in the Lord’s Prayer:
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
What is God’s will for you? Jesus answers it clearly:
“For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the Last Day.”
— John 6:40
The Lord wants to bring you through life here and to Himself in eternity. Even now our citizenship is in heaven as we reside on earth. We “await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him to subject all things to Himself” (Phil. 3:20-21).
With eternity covered by the Lord Jesus, life in this world should be easy, right? That’s not the way it works. Satan wants nothing more than to keep you away from Christ and out of heaven. The devil wants you to be in hell with him eternally. He lays all sorts of traps and temptations to destroy faith and keep our eyes away from Jesus.
Lusts of the flesh, desire for property and possessions, and an easy life of entertainment and enjoyment occupy much of our waking hours. We make plans for the “good life,” however you define that. We are disappointed when things do not work as we plan. Satan fuels that disappointment into disenchantment, and eventually into unbelief.
The sainted Rev. Dr. Herb Mueller, (former Southern Illinois District president) said often that “if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans. Man proposes but God disposes.” Pastor Mueller was simply saying what James says in the verses at left.
“If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” How true these words are in 2020! The results are more dramatic this year, but these words are always applicable. Who foresaw the pandemic and its impact a year ago? It need not be so dramatic. An accident can change life in a moment. An illness derails our best hopes and plans. Why? Why did this happen? Now, to me?
James answers it sharply. “What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” On these cool fall mornings outside, you can see your breath. This is the comparison James draws. The breath is visible for a moment and then its gone, vanished. It is a vivid reminder of our sin and mortality. We live and die.
Sometimes life in this world is short. My grandfather died at 72. None of his five sons lived past 60. Three of them died in their 30s or 40s. One of my aunts died at 16 from a burst appendix. My grandfather’s family was not atypical a century ago.
Rev. Timothy Scharr