Written by: James E. Thompson
Meet my grandmother, Josefina Flores. She was a immigrant from Mexico who came to the USA when she was 18. She was “green” before it was cool. She captured rain water, raised chickens in her backyard, and grew some of her own vegetables.
She also would say “Lord willing” after almost everything she said.
For example: “I’ll get you an ice cream when we get home, Lord willing.”
This confused me. Was that a yes to ice cream? Or no? Seriously, am I getting ice cream or not?
It wasn’t until just recently that I realized how theologically sound her saying was.
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
Put it On the Calendar.
I make plans. As I get older, I tend to be more like my mother who has been referred to as “Plan Ahead Barbie.” She likes to plan ahead……way ahead. During our wedding reception, my mother wanted to know when our first child would be born so that she can be sure to request the time off work and buy a new dress.
I kid, I kid…it wasn’t a dress but a T-shirt with “World’s Best Nana” on the front.
This year (in January), I started to fill in my calendar with things/events/activities to which I, and my family, were looking forward. Things that I did not want to see fall to the wayside because of poor planning. These activities included, a possible ski trip with friends (March); camps for girls (June/July); New Braunfels with the Penningtons (August); Disney with family (November); Thanksgiving (who is hosting this year?), etc. Some of these things involve much planning – like Disney. You can ask Missy cause she did all of the heavy lifting on dealing with Mr. Mouse (“El Raton”).
It is easy to think that just because we made them, our plans will come to pass. We begin to believe that we control the future (or at least the second week in November when we will be eating with the Princesses), or six weeks from now when I’ll be eating it by tumbling off my tube at Schlitterbahn, or next February when I’ll be eating it on the ski slopes (that is, if my next ski experience is like my last).
It is unfortunate that we are usually only corrected in our thinking when tragedy strikes. Reading about a tornado hitting a school, driving past a car accident, or watching Cassidy Stay saying that her family is “in a much better place and that [she’ll] be able to see them again one day” jolt us into acknowledging how little control we really have.
That is not to say that we shouldn’t plan and that our plans may not come to pass. They will, Lord willing.
What does saying “Lord willing” do for us?
1. Reminds us to submit.
It is about God’s will, not ours. Submitting our plans to God’s will put us in our place. It is the Lord’s will that is important. My mind immediately thinks of one of my favorite lyrics from MercyMe’s In the Blink of An Eye asks “How can I further Your kingdom When I’m so wrapped up in mine?”
2. Reminds us God has a will for us.
You are submitting to God for a reason – He has a plan for us.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
What is the Lord’s Will?
The answer to that question is above my pay grade.
However, here are some verses that may help shed light on the issue.
[1 Thessalonians 5:16-19]
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way, bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.
My Grandmother Knew
She knew that she didn’t know. She didn’t know what the future held, but she had faith that God would be there with her.
– Make the most of God’s blessings.
She didn’t know when it was going to rain. But, she appreciated the blessing and was prepared when it came. She worked with what the Lord provided and was able to draw it in for weeks afterwards.
– Don’t take blessings for granted.
She literally knew not to count her chickens before they hatched. Every egg that a hen lays doesn’t become a chicken. Some eggs don’t hatch, some start to hatch and don’t make it out, and even some chicks that hatch don’t survive. Don’t take things for granted.
– You have a role to play.
My grandmother had a green thumb. She planted things and they grew. Yet, I believe she always kept in mind that no matter how well she planted a seed and watered it, it was God’s job to make it grow. But, she recognized that she had a role to play.
I hope you got as much out of this as I got writing it. That is…..Lord willing.