Recently I announced to the Sligo family that I was scheduled to have surgery to repair a severely torn rotator cuff in my right shoulder. My doctor shared with me that the injury was probably the result of having played tennis for the past 41 years. He also shared with me that the injury was something that simply became progressively worse over time. You can imagine the thoughts that went through my mind upon hearing the news. “Does this mean I will never be able play tennis again?”
Well, despite the initial shock, I was ready to move forward and deal with it like a man. That was until I received a call from the doctor’s office just one day before the scheduled date to inform me that due to unforeseen circumstances plans had changed and that my surgery would have to be postponed until the following week. Now I have to admit that this was not an easy pill for me to swallow. You see, I had prepared myself not only with regards to my work schedule, but the most challenging of all, I had prepared myself mentally as well as emotionally. I had pumped up myself to be able to deal with the unknown of what the surgery would bring and suddenly it was like someone had taken a pin and burst my balloon.
When I was finally able to process what this news would mean, I sat at my desk in the church office and thought, “Oh well, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” In other words, regardless of how well something is planned, there is always the chance that things will change. In other words, we are not really as in control of things as we think we are. But this is exactly what James was saying when he penned these words in James 4:13-15,
“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will] go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; 14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”
In essence James is saying that we can plan all we want, but ultimately God is in charge. As one comedian put it, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” Now it’s not that God doesn’t want us to plan, but what it means is that regardless of all the planning we do, we must always acknowledge that God is sovereign and all of our plans are subject to our all-wise all-knowing Creator, who sees the end from the beginning and is never caught off guard.
Well, by the time you read this I should have already had my surgery, that is, if God in his divine wisdom allowed it. But if not, I will simply to have to regroup and start the mental preparation all over again. But this time I would do so with a different frame of mind, recognizing that God’s ways are higher than mine. All I can say is thanks for that.