The phrase, “the best laid plans of mice and men” originated in a poem written by Robert Burns in the late 1700s. In the poem a farmer accidentally destroys the nest of a mouse and then sees the parallels in his own life as he made plans only to see circumstances make a different turn.
We still see the same kind of challenges in our lives more than two hundred years later, don’t we? Over the last few days many of us have experienced a disruption of our holiday plans. I’ve read of cancelled flights across the country as the snow and extreme cold in many places saw to that. Others experienced disruption on a different level thanks to family dynamics in spite of their best plans.
Today we may hear someone say, to fail to plan is to plan to fail. While planning is generally a good idea, few plans work out exactly as we intend. Two thousand years ago, James recognized the same tendency among men. We make plans and set expectations, sometimes with no consideration of God’s will for our lives.
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”James 4:13-15
As we think of 2023, let’s avoid the trap of ignoring God’s plan in our lives and lean into what “the Lord wills.”