Updated: Jul 6, 2021
If the Lord wills. James 4:13-16 points us to an appropriate approach to every day of life..."If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that." This initial view point frees us from being victims of our circumstances. This view point allows us to see that God is orchestrating the events of our life no matter if we perceive them as good or bad. We act and respond in trust to what He is doing.
Anger is revealed when our plans do not go the way that we want. God or others step in and mess up our perfect plans! This gets to us and we tend to retaliate in anger against those people getting in our way and against God who is interfering in our plans. This anger can be directed at our spouse, children, co-workers, fellow church members, cashiers, students, teachers, traffic, weather, etc.
James reminds us that we do not know what tomorrow brings. He helps us to have perspective by reminding us of who we are. We are mere mist. As mere mortals, here today and gone tomorrow, what makes us so important that life must go according to our plans?
Anger at life's turn of unexpected events reveals our self-importance and our attempt to be sovereign. Rather than responding as though our "kingly rights" have been violated, we need to respond as servants of the true King by saying, "I want what you want." Job puts it in understandable terms, "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." (Job 1:21) His crisis of "life plans" turned Him to worship the sovereign and good God.
Attempts to control all of life or to plan as though nothing can thwart our well orchestrated order will tend towards anger directed at those who get in our way and will ultimately be directed towards God. Planning with the understanding that God is in control of all that is taking place, allows us to serve and worship God when life does not go as planned. Are we angry with God or are we worshiping God? Our response to this question will help us discern how we view ourselves and how we view God.