Saturday, January 5, 2013

Deo Volante and the Edge of the Future

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Having just written the title to my post, I realize now that it sounds like an awesome 80's hair band or perhaps some indie group from today. Definitely going to remember that title in the case that I somehow need an awesome band name.

At any rate, that is not what I am here to write about. I want to write about what I mentioned in the title: God's will and the way we plan for the future. This morning I was reading through James and James' discourse in chapter 4 on planning for the future and the necessity of acknowledging our existential contingency on God and I was struck by it (again). It was especially pertinent to my current situation because I am at the place in life where there is so much to plan for and so much to hope to be able to do in the future. By way of substantiation, here are a few examples of things I am currently planning on/for and earnestly hoping that I get to experience:
—studying abroad in the Fall at Oxford University
—getting married
—getting an internship that hopefully leads to connections that help after law school
—getting into law school in the first place

These are just a tiny sliver of the many things I hope to do/experience in the next few years. And every single one of them is entirely contingent upon God's will. It is His decision and exercise of will that will allow any of those things to happen. Neigh, it is that which allows even my next letter to be typed! At every second while I wrote this and you read this, God was entirely sustaining the universe and providing the necessities of existence. Well, I know at the very least that that is true for while I was writing this; the world may have been judged and remade by the time someone gets around to reading this (haha!). I digress. Thus, what the Holy Spirit worked upon my heart this morning was a reminder that I need to live not in the moment (which I find a rather strange expression when closely examined) or in the past or in the future, but in light of the constant and clear realization that God Himself, the Alpha and the Omega, YHWH, gives rise to my existence and to the existence of everything in the universe. Furthermore, there is not a thing my tiny spirit can do to significantly change what will happen in the future; I cannot make the future happen exactly as I want it any more than I can create a rock or move a mountain. I can only trust that the God of the universe will, God-willing (literally), give rise to it and oversee it in His perfect and powerful way. And despite all the fear and trepidation I sometimes have about the future, I am deeply confident that God's will for my life is what I want most, is what is best for me, and will bring about the greatest happiness in my life. Until next time, God willing.

James 4:13-17
Boasting About Tomorrow
13 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”— 14 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. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

Note: (D.V.), DV, D.V. are all shorthand for the phrase 'God-willing' (Deo-God, Volante-willing—like 'volition') in latin. I was introduced to this way of putting the phrase into latin by my Linguistics professor at APU. He was and continues to be an excellent example to my heart of someone who seeks to live by James' exhortation to us not to boast about the future.

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