For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. —Jeremiah 29:11 (vv. 13-14 were Trinity’s Verse of the Year, 2018-2019)
Life is what happens to you while you‘re busy making other plans. —attributed to John Lennon.
An ancient apostle once scoffed at those who have their life all planned — as though God doesn’t exist.
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there, doing business and making money.” Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring. … Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wishes, we will live and do this or that.” (St. James 4:13-15).
Former NBC News anchor, John Chancellor — the guy that came up with the red state / blue state color scheme when covering elections — died of stomach cancer in 1996. He had not planned on this.
In an interview, Chancellor said, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” It’s a variation of the old Yiddish proverb, Der mentsh trakht und Gott lakht (“Man plans and God laughs”).
Here is some Latin to learn. The idea comes from St. James himself. Deo volente. “God willing.” James says that when making plans, we should surrender them to God. Our Muslim and Arab Christian friends have a similar expression: Inshallah.
So here we are in mid-April. We didn’t see this coming, did we? This COVID-19 thing has kicked our posterior, taken us down just a notch or two, dui budui? Jeanie and I certainly had January-June all planned out. And it didn’t include leaving a flat-full of furniture behind in Shanghai.
Stan Purdum, writing in “The Wired Word” refers to Matt Simon, a science writer at Wired magazine. Simon quotes a woman who said of the current crisis, “It’s like there’s no future.” Simon then explained, “What she meant was we can’t plan for the future, because in the age of the coronavirus, we don’t know what we’ll be doing in six months, or even tomorrow. We’re stuck in a new kind of everlasting present” (italics added).
Someone — if I knew who, I’d tell you — also said that it’s like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. Every day seems like a repeat of the day before. Tomorrow will be like today and today is like yesterday.
Let us bow before the Lord, and say, “Deo volente,” or “In your time,” or “When you are willing … Lord, let it be.”
Lord God, I am willing to put my life in your hands. I surrender my plans and my future to your providence. Guide my steps so that I might walk within your will. Amen.
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