Alex Enabnit – Research Editor
Feet tired, backs aching, and legs dusty, we finally arrived at the campsite. After months of planning, everything was finally in motion, on schedule, and unfolding smoothly… So far.
My friend Drew and I were at the end of an exhausting nine-mile hike and just found the perfect spot for a tent: right next to a meandering stream. Tall conifers hemmed in a shaded campground, as the birds sang and the brook bubbled, like a Disney movie come to life. My friend and I dropped our heavy packs and soaked our sore feet in the chilly creek, eagerly waiting for our food to heat up.
We were a third through our planned trip starting in Greer, up and over Mount Baldy, then back to Greer to make a 30-mile loop. I’m more of a hiker than a backpacker, so I’m used to day hikes with the promise of a shower and comfy bed waiting at the end… neither of which are found in the backcountry. But I knew with enough preparation I’d be golden. “I got this,” I thought to myself, “All I have to do is equip myself with what I need and I’ll be fine!” But after a few restless hours in a sleeping bag that evening, I wasn’t fine. I had prepared for rain, bugs, and bears but nothing prepared me for what came up next – intense nausea, fever, and several trips outside of the tent. It was the flu.
In minutes, months of planning disappeared as I realized just how little control I had. I couldn’t do anything to stop being sick, no matter how much I wanted to. My trip as I knew it was over.
Have you ever experienced this? Have you ever had everything completely fall through, despite days or months of detailed planning? Perhaps you’ve heard the expression, “the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” I’m pretty familiar with the expression; it’s been a recurring theme in my life! Yet for some reason, there are many days where I insist on relying on my abilities alone rather than leaning on God… Maybe you can relate. In the same vein, James has this to say:
“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.’ As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.” James 4:13-16
I wouldn’t ever accuse James of being indirect! But is he saying that we shouldn’t make plans for the future? That we should just live day after day with no thought to what is ahead? Nope! He’s simply saying that whatever our plans are, they should first of all include God. But second, when we do make plans, we shouldn’t be so confident in our ability to make everything happen just as planned (like I learned, or re-learned, the hard way on my backpacking trip). Only God knows the future, so when we get arrogant about the certainty of our future plans, James calls that evil. Plan for the future, yes. But we should be sure to include a healthy dose of humility when a curveball comes our way!
The morning after my horrible night, I had no idea what to do. I was stuck nine miles away from my car and I knew I was barely in any condition to get to a road, let alone over a mountain. I felt totally helpless. So I did what any reasonable person would do; I complained to God.
…And when I was done complaining, I finally asked for help.
“God, I have no idea how I’m getting out of this. I don’t have the solution. But I know you do. And I know I can trust you to get me out of this… Please help me get off this mountain in one piece.”
You know what happened next? I crept along for two miles, came across a main road, and there met a hiker who offered me and my buddy a ride back to the car, “so long as you don’t breathe on me,” he said.
My trip didn’t end up how I planned, but in a way it actually turned out better knowing that God was there for me, especially when my best laid plans fell through.
Maybe you’re feeling that right now. Your future didn’t turn out the way you planned… I get that. But God is still with you regardless of the outcome, and He will see you through it. Will you trust him with your tomorrow?Click here for the photo credit on this post