At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Ps. 16: 11)
Man’s goings are of the Lord; How can a man then understand his own way? (Prov. 20:24).
Scripture calls us to live our lives with understanding, which is not at all the same thing as understanding our lives.
Since the fall of our first parents into sin, the perennial temptation for us has been the one summarized by our proverb “his eyes were too big for his stomach.” There are only two ways to live—the first is to walk in a manner that trusts God, while the second is to walk in a manner that seeks (somehow, on some level) to be God. And when we trust God, we are walking by faith and not by sight.
When we trust God, we limit ourselves to what He has told us. We honor His law. We respond to His gospel. We respect the processes that He has established for us. Precisely because He has established them for us, it is possible for us to understand them.
It is possible for us to see what we are supposed to do. It is impossible for us to see what will result from whatever it is that we do. We can see actions, but we cannot see downstream outcomes. Those downstream outcomes are not our department. This is why James tells us that it is conceited and arrogant when we declare that we will go to thus and such city, start a business, and make a pile of money (Jas. 4:13-14). We don’t know that. Our lives are a mist. There is not a man on earth who understands his own way.
If he is wise, he might understand some of it as it presents itself in the rearview mirror. As he gives thanks to God, he is capable of seeing that the lines have fallen for him in pleasant places (Ps. 16:6). But when it comes to the future, we cannot begin to comprehend it.
And this is why it is crucial for us to focus on how we are doing what we are doing. If we focus on what we are doing, we might make the mistake of thinking that our planned result is what is going to happen. Is it God’s will for you to be married this time three days from now? You have no idea. You might be singing in the choir invisible at that time, while your spouse is picking out the coffin.
We cannot function without planning, but we need to make sure that it is always planning with a heavy dose of humility mixed with it. Our plans are not what we believe them to be.