Our plans not as important as God’s

By Curtis K. Shelburne: Local columnist

It’s amazing how haughty and self-assured we humans can be. We blithely blow through days and weeks and months, confident in our ability to plan our work and work our plan, very impressed with ourselves, masters of our own destiny.

And then one little microbe comes along . . .

On Sundays, the dog and I have a standing appointment for an afternoon nap. There are better ways to honor God than by sleeping in on Sunday mornings, but I’m of the opinion that a Sunday afternoon nap is a fine way to honor Him. This past Sunday, the dog was away visiting a friend in the family, but I’d planned to carry on the Sunday nap routine without Her Furriness.

Other than that, my wife and I hadn’t actually planned much for last Sunday afternoon. What we ended up doing would never make anyone’s short list of fun things to do on a fine Sunday afternoon.

One little microbe.

I suppose by Sunday afternoon the one little microbe had become a million swimming around in both our bloodstreams. After lunch Sunday my wife was already convinced that lunch probably hadn’t been a good idea. I soon came to the same conclusion. Without going into great detail, I’ll just say that between us we pretty much explored miseries at both ends of the human digestive tract. She said she felt better for a little while after she threw up. If that’s what it takes to feel better, I’m not interested. My suffering took other gastrointestinal forms.

Then I suppose the million microbes turned into tens of millions, and here came the fever, the aches, and the chills.

It was a lovely evening.

We took turns alternating between the recliner, the couch, and the bed. I think I remember shivering together through a TV show in the middle of the night since neither of us could sleep anyway.

Today, with just a little low fever occasionally and aches common to either a hard-won hangover or a serious loss in a badly mismatched prize fight, we’re better.

One little microbe . . .

We humans should be more humble. The Bible calls us “dust.” It doesn’t take much real wind to blow away all our grand (or not-so-grand) plans.

Perspective. That’s what we need. That’s what James, the Lord’s brother, is urging on us as he writes, “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”

How modern is that?

“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You’re nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing.”

How much better, James writes, to say, “If the Master wills it and we’re still alive, we’ll do this or that. As it is, you are full of your grandiose selves” (James 4:13-16, NIV and The Message.)

Point taken.

Curtis Shelburne is pastor of 16th & Ave. D. Church of Christ in Muleshoe. Contact him at ckshel@aol.com