James 4:13-15 – Now listen to me, you that say, "Today or tomorrow we will travel to a certain city, where we will stay a year and go into business and make a lot of money." You don't even know what your life tomorrow will be!. What you should say is this, "If the Lord is willing, we will live and do this or that."
These words remind me of Aunt Katie, a grand lady of the old school. When any proposed future activity was discussed, she would qualify any commitment with, "The Lord willing." It was a fairly common saying in those days. We will do well to listen to it again in these days.
I find a couple of interesting statements made by Paul in Romans about his plans to visit Spain. In chapter 15, he writes, "I have been wanting for so many years to come and see you. I hope to do so now. I would like to see you on my way to Spain." A few verses later he goes on, "When I have finished this task…, I shall leave for Spain and visit you on my way there." Aunt Katie's "The Lord willing" is missing. I know the feeling.
Last year my wife and I spent Christmas with our daughter and her husband in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. Being train buffs, we travelled on Via Rail's Canadian. Just before we reached Winnipeg there was a mechanical failure. The delay was over four hours which, compliments of Via Rail, meant that our next trip would be at half fare if taken within a year. Great! At once we planned another trip out west from September 7 – 24, so that we could attend a Kirkin O' the Tartan service in the Bellafield Presbyterian Church south of Brandon, Manitoba. This was a hope almost equal to Paul's in our zeal to go. There was no mention of "The Lord willing". We were just going to go. We didn't get there and neither did Paul get to Spain.
Thanks to the apostle James and Aunt Katie we are neither making plans nor worrying about where we will be or what we will do either for this Christmas or a Kirkin O' the Tartan next year. It is a marvellous freedom. All our plans will have attached to them the happy and carefree condition, "The Lord willing." He knows what is best and he always gives what is best.
Prayer: Gracious God and all-wise Father, we are most grateful for the ways in which your care and guidance replace our worry and anxiety. May the old words of wisdom, "The Lord willing", be our constant comfort and joy. In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, we pray. Amen.