Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” —James 4:14-15
It’s hard to remember what life was like before COVID-19. It seems that every day our minds are filled with thinking about the coronavirus and how it is affecting our everyday lives. How we will get our groceries, how we will get to work, and how we will take care of our loved ones. It’s interesting to see how our thoughts are so consumed about this one thing when before we often spent a lot of time thinking of things that were way less important.
Many cities are in lockdown and only essential businesses are allowed to be open. This is kind of how our thoughts and actions are as well. You may have shifted to a focus on the most important or essential things; your family, your friends, and the most crucial needs to live. And the non-essential thoughts such as clothing to wear, movies to see, what color to paint the house, where you’re going to go on Saturday night, have vanished from your mind. These things are not bad, but our current situation definitely puts things into perspective.
I find myself realizing how much time I used to spend thinking about non-essential things. I also have noticed I am appreciating small things in life much more. Each day I wake up is a blessing. Looking out my window and seeing a blue sky. Hearing a bird chirp in the distance. Smelling the morning air. Talking to my family and praising God for their health. Laughing with a friend over a video chat. Being in the comfort of my home. Having a job and working unto the Lord each day. These small moments may be different for you depending on your situation, but I encourage you to be thankful that we have this time to focus our thoughts on the essential blessings, instead of the non-essential things.
In this verse, James explains that there is no point in worrying about tomorrow. Clearly no one even knows what tomorrow will bring. Instead, we should trust the Lord’s will for our lives. It seems scary to trust the Lord especially in this crazy season. That’s why so many people ‘panic buy' supplies, it allows them to feel in control amidst a very uncontrollable situation. But the Lord is trustworthy! The Lord is not ‘panic buying’ faith and trust from the heavenly shelves! He still has all authority and power and control.
The word ‘will’ used in this verse is the Greek word, ‘thelo,’ which can be translated to purpose. This is a great reminder that we shouldn’t worry about tomorrow; the Lord has a plan and a purpose for our lives and we should trust Him. We shouldn’t spend time planning and thinking about non-essentials but instead focus on the Lord’s essential purpose He has for each one of our lives.
Practical Takeaway: List the essential blessings that you are more aware of each day. Focus on the present day and live in the moment with the Lord.