Andre-Francois Raffray was a middle-aged lawyer who found a bargain. A ninety-year-old widow named Jeanne Calment offered her French apartment en viager, or “for life.” If Raffray paid her $500 US per month for her remaining days, he would inherit her apartment when she died. But as months turned into years, Calment kept living and Raffray kept paying. Finally, after thirty years and a lot of money, Raffray died! Jeanne Calment celebrated her 120th birthday and shrugged, “In life, one sometimes makes bad deals.”

This true story at first glance sounds wildly unbelievable—but then life is full of unbelievable events. We’re wise to look for deals, but as Solomon observed, “time and chance happen to [us] all” (Ecclesiastes 9:11 NIV). Businesses fail and accidents happen, often for no apparent reason. What seemed like security can be our undoing, all because we’re paying rent to the oldest person alive. What are the odds?

As we plan, we must remain humble. James warns us not to boast about future profits, for who knows “what your life will be like tomorrow?” Our lives are as fleeting as the “morning fog” and fully dependent on God. So we should say, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that” (James 4:14-15). Proverbs 19:21 explains, “You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.” This proverb may be the source of the Yiddish saying, “Man plans and God laughs.”

God’s sovereign power should bring us comfort. He’s not surprised when our best plans go awry. He’s got us and that’s enough. “The Lord’s plans stand firm forever; his intentions can never be shaken” (Psalm 33:11). So prayerfully consider what to do, but know that you’re secure in God’s loving hands.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Matthew 27:1-10