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.