Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Not When, But If

About a year ago, I was having a conversation with someone during which I made the statement, "If Duncan and I have children."
The person almost screeched at me, "If?!?"
Evidently, in their mind, the statement should be, "When Duncan and I have children," like it was a foregone conclusion.
I explained to them that although we may wish and plan to have children one day, it may not be God's will for us.  We can't take things like that for granted....who knows, we may not be able to have children!  We believe the whens in life should always be ifs.

That got me thinking about James 4:13-15.  How often do we (myself included) just presume or demand things from God like they are our rights and not blessings from his hand?  We expect we will tread the paths we have mapped out for ourselves, and then get angry at God when he leads us down a different road.

After reading these verses from James, I couldn't help but see how the Muslims have got it right in this sense.  Apparently a lot of them add "God willing" or "Allah willing" to the end of their sentences, recognising that although humans have free will to make plans, if it is not God's will it will not come to pass.

Duncan and I have friends and family who have struggled or are struggling with the pain of infertility.  I know people struggling with a hope deferred when it comes to marriage.  We shouldn't just assume this is the path for everyone, and then tell them the lie that it would only happen if they trusted God enough.  Many people will journey down the road of marriage and kids.  Others will not.

I'm not suggesting we need to add "God willing" piously on the end of all our sentences.  I'm not suggesting we should live life in a state of paranoia that God will always take a raincheck on our carefully made plans.  But all too often we do not include the almighty sovereign God in our decision-making.

Last week, I found out on Facebook that a friend's brother's fiancee passed away suddenly in her sleep at the age of 20!  She wasn't sick (as far as I know) and it came as a tremendous shock for everyone.  This girl was busy planning her wedding for early next year.  Now the day will never come.  The news left me terribly saddened and more aware of our lives as a fleeting mist or vapour.

Let us not stop making plans, but acknowledge that it is the God who sees even a sparrow fall to the ground who holds us and the rest of creation in His mighty hand.


Amanda said...

I think its fine to say that too, God is in charge after all. My Dad says 'God willing' a lot and he means it every time. Good post.

Rodney Olsen said...

Great post.

I remember years ago people telling me with great certainty that I would find a wife. I was relatively sure that they were right but I couldn't know that for sure and neither could they.

I'm so very very glad that Pauline and I met and have now been married over seventeen years but back then I couldn't possibly know for sure that I would meet someone so amazing.

Sometimes people like to tell us what they think we want to hear and then tell us it's God's will when it can often be wishful thinking.

Let's let God be sovereign and be open to whichever way he leads us on the pathways of life.

Middo said...

It is true, though I don't like to think about it sometimes. I have great plans and aspirations that I often talk about almost as if they were set in stone. They really are not.

However I will ask you to refrain from sharing stories about significant others dying before the wedding, I am growing a sufficient fear of that (for no good reason :P ) WITHOUT input from the blogosphere :D :P

Iris Flavia said...

I sure agree, you never know if what you plan in your mind can come true.
Ingo has friends who so desperatley wanted kids and failed.
Since he has issues with his back and finds no proper work and she is "just" an unskilled worker, they´re not even allowed to adopt a child.
That is very sad.

But they at least have each other!

How unbelievable sad is a girl planning her wedding and dying that early! Her "to-be-husband"... oh, my, I cannot even think about in how much grief he must be!

Right... not when, but if...