Last week, in what was an entirely unplanned and spectacular display of clumsiness, I managed to spill a cup of water on my MacBook.
Most likely, this will result either in the death of said MacBook or a significant “doctor’s” bill to replace the water-logged and destroyed components (the MacBook is currently drying out in a bag of kitty litter. It’s theoretically possible that it will turn back on when I try it in a few days…that would be nice).
I was frustrated when this happened, but ultimately, it was more of a major annoyance than a tragedy because I had planned ahead. It was an annoyance because it disrupted my week and forced me to devote a lot of time I didn’t really have to retrieving files and ordering and setting up a new laptop. It was not a tragedy because I had been faithfully saving up money for over a year to get a new MacBook anyway (and let’s be real: it’s a computer, a thing. Losing it wouldn’t actually be a tragedy, but it would be tough considering how integral a computer is to my life in 2013).
Some people are better planners than others, but in general, planning ahead is a good thing. It is a form of good stewardship of our resources to plan for the future, and planning ahead was what downgraded my water-spilling escapades from a tragedy to an annoyance.
But a word of caution: planning can be a dangerous thing as well, because it can give us the illusion that we are in control when we really aren’t. Consider 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.”
So while planning is a good thing, it is essential that we recognize its limitations: it can help us better respond to situations that arise, but it doesn’t give us control over those situations.