Judgment and belief regarding actions to be performed can never attain more than a precarious probability.

William James, The Quest for Certainty

In general, people are planners. Some of us may be better or worse at it, but we all make plans for the future. But, as we have heard, “The best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry” (adapted from the poem by Robert Burns). We’ve also heard this referred to as Murphy’s Law.

So, we make our plans and then God chuckles and says “yeaaaahh, no.” Stuff happens, and people say “it’s God’s will.”

Jesus tells us “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34). Does this mean that we shouldn’t bother to plan ahead by even one day?

I don’t think so. Using this quote to justify never proceeding with your life is similar to saying that the concept of Wu Wei in the Tao Te Ching tells us not to bother to get off the couch — it’s cherry-picking a quote to justify what you’ve already decided to do anyway.

Clearly Jesus made plans. In fact, if you read the Gospels, it’s pretty clear he had a plan all along. So, what are we to do about this?

Well, making plans and worrying are two different things. Worrying is useless; if you’re worried your plan won’t work, come up with a different (or contingency) plan!

You can make your plans, but be ready to improvise, adapt and overcome. Jesus was staying out of the area of Jerusalem when news reached him that his friend Lazarus was sick. He knew he was in danger if he headed to Bethany; he contemplated it for two days, then decided he needed to go. Sometimes you have to alter your plans when conditions change.

Nothing is ever certain, but that doesn’t mean you don’t make plans. Just be ready to adapt to changing circumstances.

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