Ah yes, life’s unexpected surprises. Just when you feel like you’ve just about seen it all, life pops up and slaps you in the face with an octopus. Or at least, that’s what happened to one particular kayaker from New Zealand. He and some friends were on the water watching some playful seals darting around their kayaks. Out of nowhere, one particular seal swam up to the kayaker, popped out of the water holding an octopus and proceeded to whip the eight-limbed creature around, planting one of those octopus arms straight into his face (Watch It Here).
Life just doesn’t prepare you for a seal slapping you in the face with an octopus. But perhaps that’s kind of the point. Life is unexpected. Even in all of our planning, our routines, our habits, and our practices, surprises turn up and throw all of our preparations out the window.
In James 4, a similar discussion is taking place about the unexpected. James gives an illustration of some businessmen who seem to have it all figured out. They are arrogantly planning to go to a city, do business for a year there, and make a profit (vs. 13). However, there is one major factor they have left out–God. In all of their planning, in reality, they have no idea what the future may hold (vs. 14).
There is no possible way we can prepare for every possible situation and scenario. Nor should we even try. The righteous person is one who plans while understanding the shortness of life, while respecting that God may have other plans, and while ensuring the Lord is involved throughout the process (vs. 14-15).
We don’t know what’s around the corner. We never really know what’s lurking in the seal’s mouth beneath the water. We don’t know what the Lord’s will is for us tomorrow. But that’s ok. Let’s work hard for His name. Let’s prepare for the future. But let’s keep the phrase, “If the Lord wills,” continually in our words, our prayers, and our plans (vs. 15).