Originally posted Jan. 4, 2012, at Faith Formation. Republished with permission of the author.
If you have ever had an elder in your household, particularly one born before 1930, you have probably heard the phrase, “the Lord willing,” tacked to almost any statement of intent.
I remember dear old Aunt Catherine, who would qualify all plans, whether they were traveling across town or simply creating a luscious batch of her homemade jam, with the statement “the Lord willing.”
“I will see you tomorrow, Lord willing.” “This is gonna be a great meal, Lord willing.”
Aunt Catherine never believed that her hopes or plans were concrete — the only thing that was certain for her was that nothing would unfold for her unless God willed it to be so.
These days we have so many resources at our fingertips that help us to predict a trend or to guide our strategic planning. With the aid of PowerPoint or Excel we can look at patterns and precedents, and develop fairly good guesses about how our assets and deficits can be managed.
Doppler radar equips us (or agitates us, depending upon your perspective) by looking at weather patterns days in advance. We live as people who are tempted to consider themselves omniscient.
Not so! James 4:13-17 reminds us of the fleeting nature of what we identify as “certain.”
We and our notions are like mist, right?
The only thing that assures permanence is God’s will embedded in our plans and actions.
In many congregations a new year means a new schedule of meetings. As with all meetings there will be questions, perhaps debate — important parts of discernment, which leads to voting.
As for me, when a vote is at hand, I want to remember my Aunt Catherine’s consistent words: “Lord willing.”
Find a link to Pamela Czarnota’s blog Faith Formation at Lutheran Blogs.