Don't be Presumptuous
I’m sure like me, many of us have wondered (and are still wondering) about the mystery behind the missing Flight MH370 that seems to have baffled authorities across the globe. It is difficult to imagine what the families of those affected might be going through. Nor is it possible to even begin to fathom the thought processes of those in that airplane, when they realized their fate. What did their last few minutes or seconds feel like? I don’t think any of us would want to be in their shoes. Yet that journey was just like any normal trip. Some of them had flown in that aircraft a few times before. Yet, that day turned out to be different.
Flying by airplane is something that many of us do a few times in a year. Some of us do so more often than others, depending on the nature of our business. Yet we know that it is only through the grace and the mercy of God that we have flown to our destinations and returned to our homes safely. This is why the Bible declares in James 4: 13-16: ‘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.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil’.
I am often amazed when I hear someone say ‘see you tomorrow’, or ‘See you next month’, or people making plans, without acknowledging that it is only ‘if God wills’ and by His grace, that it will happen. I recall a management meeting at work when our Head of School was trying to arrange another meeting; he said, “as Elewechi would say, God willing, we shall meet again next week”. And all my colleagues at the meeting laughed. One of them who happened to be a Christian said to me after the meeting “you see your witness is paying dividends”. They all knew that in any of my email correspondences, I would always add ‘God willing…” I was not doing it so that anyone would know I was a Christian, or to please anyone. I did that, and still ALWAYS add ‘God willing’ or ‘by God’s grace’, to my conversations or correspondences that involve any kind of future plan or appointment because I know it is only ‘in Him, we live and move and have our being’ (Acts 17:28), and it is only by His grace that we can be any where at any time. As Philippians 2:13 says “it is God who works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure”.
When the Apostle Paul was leaving Ephesus to try and make the feast at Jerusalem, he said to the disciples who were there (Acts 18: 21) “I must by all means keep this feast in Jerusalem; but I will return again to you, God willing...” Also, in his letter to the Corinthians he said “But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord wills, and I will know, …” (1Corinthians 4:19)
Dear friends, life is just too short, in fact, much shorter than we can ever imagine. This is why we cannot afford to be presumptuous, or careless in the way we live our lives. We are to ‘watch unto prayer’ always, so that any time He chooses to call us home, we will be prepared. Can we afford to live in malice and unforgiveness, when we do not know when He will call us home? I don’t think so. Hence, we must ‘make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord’ (Hebrews 12:14).
Also, the Bible reminds us that ‘the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord’ (Psalm 37:23), as well as HIS STOPS. That means we must be sure that before we undertake any journey, we have inquired from the Lord, and received His clearance. It’s all about being at the right place, at the right time. A close relative of mine lost her live a few years back because a friend stopped by her house and asked her to accompany him on a journey. She jumped into the car and went with him. They had not even done one hour into that journey when their car got involved in an accident and she lost her life, but her friend survived. I’m sure many of us know a few people who have lost their lives that way, too. This is why we must always remain in the centre of the will of Our Father, and be sensitive to His leading.
Indeed, He has been our Ebenezer, and has seen us through the first quarter of the year 2014. As we begin the second quarter, it is my prayer that He who has began a good work in us will complete and perfect it for His own glory, in the mighty name of Jesus. The One who keeps us neither slumbers, nor sleeps. He is our keeper; He is our shade upon our right hand. The sun will not smite us by day, nor the moon by night. He will preserve us from all evil; He will preserve our soul. He will preserve our going out and our coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore’ (Psalm 121: 5-8). Amen and Amen!!!
The Lord is our hiding place: He will protect us from trouble and surround us with songs of deliverance, in Jesus Name (Psalm 32:7).
Yours under the banner of His Love
Elewechi Ngozi M. Okike