I used to think people were just putting on a false piety when they used the phrase “Lord willing.” You know, as in, “I’ll see you Friday at the pub, Lord willing.” I thought it was false piety because I used to say it all the time, and I said it not because I thought I wouldn’t make it to whatever I was referring to, but because I thought I was supposed to say it. It’s what spiritual people say. James 4:15 and all.
But then I noticed a pattern in my life. I was able to make most, if not all, of my commitments. And it never crossed my mind that I wouldn’t be able to make it to a commitment that I made. So I stopped saying “Lord willing.” After all, it didn’t really mean much to me anyway. It was just something I said.
But I’m starting to realize just how much I’m not in control of my time. Or my life, for that matter.
I regularly have things on my schedule that I know I’m going to have to miss, I just don’t know which things those are. At a moment’s notice, I may need to come home to watch my kids while my wife heads to the hospital with our foster daughter. Or a church member may have a need, and ask if I can be there for them. Or I myself might get sick.
I don’t even know what will happen today, much less tomorrow.
I still don’t always say “Lord willing” out loud when planning to do something, that would get a little redundant. I don’t look down on others who use the phrase anymore, but I don’t think the Bible is saying we need to verbalize it every time we put something on our schedules either. I think the point that James is making is that we boast when we truly think we’re in control. We boast when we think we can make plans apart from God’s plans, or even that our plans would supersede God’s plans. But the humble person will make plans and recognize that his plans are only going to come about if they are in accordance with God’s plans.
So the question is, what are you doing tomorrow?