Our biggest sale! 50% off your PLUS subscription. Use code SUMMER

A Wisdom Retreat - May 13

Not My Will . . .but Yours

James 4:15
“If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.”

When I was a newly married seminary student, I held a number of different part-time jobs, while Marsha worked full-time to put me through school and cover the majority of our bills. I’ll never forget that year I convinced her that the timing was right to bury our old car and get a newer model.

Ours was a bucket of bolts and a pile of rust, but the truth was, I simply wanted a car with less than 100,000 miles on it. I knew it would be tight financially, but with both incomes, we’d have just enough to make monthly payments on a new car.

A friend heard I was looking for a car and offered to sell me his little hatchback for a decent price. It was small and didn’t have air conditioning, but it had low mileage and seemed like a great deal. I confess that I didn’t even pray about it. I don’t think I test drove it. It was new, with not a trace of rust anywhere.

We managed to squeeze the payments into our budget.

Two weeks later, I heard of a courier job for a commercial real estate company. The president was a believer, and he had decided years earlier to hire Dallas Seminary students—partly because he trusted the students and partly because he knew they needed help financially.

It was perfect and I gratefully accepted the position—one that I would hold until graduating from seminary the following spring. Then the president told me that I would be given an added perk: a loaded Buick LeSabre to drive as I delivered packages and contracts. But after work, it was mine to take home and keep throughout the week—24/7—with all expenses paid.

Now I had a problem . . . an expensive problem. There was this little hatchback that we didn’t need to drive anymore—but monthly payments had to be made.

Bottom line: I tried selling it back to my friend (he wasn’t interested); it gathered dust for a year; we sold it at a loss.

Since that time I’ve often thought about my impulsive decision . . . and lack of prayer. If I had just waited two weeks, God was already prepared to bury my bucket of bolts and give us a beautiful car without any financial obligation.

Have you ever, literally, gone ahead of God?

It’s evidently a common enough temptation that James reminds us to stop taking control—talking like we’re sovereign—and start surrendering to the Savior. James is cautioning that before we make any plans for today or tomorrow, we should say, “If it’s the Lord’s will.”

These aren’t magic words. James isn’t giving us a formula for getting better cars . . . or healthier bodies. He’s actually giving us a new mindset—a way of thinking and living that places our decisions within the borders of His will.

The Apostle Paul demonstrated this in 1 Corinthians 4:19, where he wrote, I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills. Later, in 1 Corinthians 16:7, he wrote, I hope to remain with you for some time, if the Lord permits. In Romans 1:10, he wrote, Perhaps now at last by the will of God I may succeed in coming to you.

Frankly, we should live in the same manner and then wait—even if it means driving a bucket of bolts a few more months . . . or a few more years.

Prayer Point: Are you willing to bring your plans to God and ask for His affirmation . . . His peace . . . His will to be done?

Extra Refreshment: Read Genesis 15 where God promises Abraham a son; then read Genesis 16 where Abraham and his wife lose faith and take matters into their own hands. Learn from their failure this truth: God’s plans are always higher than our plans.

Wisdom for the Heart online

Many ministries today expound on life and illustrate with Scripture;
we’re committed to expounding on Scripture and illustrating with life!