Last year at this time,
when you pondered the upcoming year,
what were your thoughts?
Did you have any idea it would involve a worldwide pandemic, economic upheaval, racial riots not seen since the 1960’s and a political season that divided our nation (and many friends and families) like never before?
My guess is that none of us had any idea what was coming our way as we entered January of 2020.
So, what about 2021?
James reminds us that our lives are ultimately in God’s hands and we have no business boasting about our plans for tomorrow.
“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.’ As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.”
(James 4:13-16 ESV)
This passage, at the very least, should humble us as we live our lives and look to the future.
Growing up, I remember hearing my mom often say, “If the Lord wills.”
It was a reminder to me that God knows the future, and all of our tomorrows are in his loving, wise and sovereign hands.
“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9 ESV)
Yes, we still make plans. Yes, we still dream and set new goals.
But we always place those plans, dreams and goals into the hands of our heavenly Father.
God knows the future and is not surprised by what comes our way.
He is on his throne and in control, moving history toward its final culmination of redeeming this broken world back to himself (Psalm 33:10-11).
And because of this, we have no reason to live lives filled with fear and anxiety as we look to 2021.
The Psalmist tells us…
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
(Psalm 23:4 – ESV)
“God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore, we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling.”
(Psalm 46:1-3 – ESV)
“Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34 CSB)
As we move into 2021 in just a few days, here are a few Scriptures and quotes to encourage and remind us that we serve a God of transcendent hope who can be trusted fully with all of our todays and tomorrows.
“It’s hard to imagine what life would be
If you weren’t there to share my load.
I’d be so afraid to face another day
Cause I don’t know what’s down the road,
But you know the future and
You’ve met all my days.
You know each season and
You know all my ways.
You own every hour and
There’s nothing hid from you
You own tomorrow,
So I won’t fear today.”
(Lyrics from: You Know the Future by The Archers)
“Trust the past to God’s mercy, the present to God’s love, and the future to God’s providence.” (St. Augustine)
“The life of faith is lived one day at a time (Matt. 6:34), and it has to be lived this way – not always looked forward as though the ‘real’ living were around the next corner. It is for today we are responsible. God still owns tomorrow.” (Elisabeth Elliot)
“I took you from the ends of the earth,
from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;
I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
(Isaiah 41:9-10 – NIV84)
“Worship is designed to remind you that in the center of all things is a glorious and gracious king, and this king is not you.”
“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace,
because he trusts in You. ‘Trust in the Lord forever…’”
(Isaiah 26:3-4a – NASB)
Lastly, let me leave you with these wise words from Roy Lessin:
“The One who leads you makes no mistakes.
The One who guides you has the right directions.
The One who counsels you has the wisest answers.
The One who provides for you has the greatest resources.
The One who blesses you brings the greatest joys.”
“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:23 NASB)