Perhaps no other sport spends as much time preparing for any particular game as does the National Football League. It is called “game planning,” and no detail is left unconsidered as teams prepare to go to battle throughout the season. However, there may be no game planning for any game that is more intense than the preparation that has gone into tomorrow night. No, there is no game tomorrow night. Tomorrow night is the beginning of the 2012 NFL Draft, and each of the 32 teams has spent thousands of man-hours studying film, visiting combines, and grading workouts—all for this evening. With millions of dollars to be invested in the top picks, the margin for error is minuscule. No team can afford a mistake. So, in 32 war rooms around the league, plans have been made; and those plans will guide the selections made—beginning with the Colts, who will select Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the first pick of the draft. Such planning is wise and appropriate when considering most of the normal things of life. You investigate colleges before making a choice. You compare features before selecting a TV. You look at all the meaningful specs before buying a new car. It’s normal for the things of life that are normal. But much of life doesn’t operate that way. No amount of preparation can ready us for the unexpected things of life. For those, we must operate by faith. That is why the apostle James wrote:

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that” (James 4:13-15).

"You do not know" is the critical phrase. While life’s events may surprise us in unexpected ways, we can have confidence in this: God is never surprised. We can rest in His will and His purposes, even when the events of life push us outside the bounds of anything for which we could ever prepare. His game planning will never fail. And even when we don’t understand His purposes, we can rest in His love and concern, knowing that His ways will always be best.   Bill Crowder, Sports Spectrum Chaplain