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Welcome to DAY 20 of our online Bible study on James!

Click HERE to download our 25-Day Reading Plan on James!


DAY 20

— Read: James 4:13-17

I met her at a wedding in Cape Town in 2002. She and her husband were both South African and about to become missionaries in Kenya. When I asked her questions about their upcoming plans, she replied, “Lord willing, we will…” and “This is the goal, Lord willing.”

Almost every phrase she uttered about the future was annotated with those two words: “Lord willing.” A simple addendum, but full of weight and meaning.

Her carefulness to qualify her statements both mesmerized and convicted me. For one, it indicated an ongoing dependence upon the Lord and an awareness that He was in control, not my friend. Why didn’t I think that way?

The way she shared so openly and freely also made me question my own commitment to Christ. Would I be so bold as to say the words “Lord willing” to a complete stranger? Right away they would know I’m a Christian, and then what? My hesitancy embarrassed me.

I made a mental note to tuck this lesson into the back of my mind, but instead it pushed its way to the forefront for days, even weeks after the wedding — so much so that eventually I thought I would give it a try.

With some uneasiness, I inserted the phrase, “Lord willing” at the end of a sentence in conversation with a friend.

It seemed out of place at first since I had never said it before, but it was also somewhat freeing. As if I didn’t have to worry about what would happen, because God knew.

In the two years that followed, my life changed dramatically. I got engaged and married a South African man. I committed to spending my life living in his home country. We found out I was pregnant (unexpectedly) four months after our wedding. We moved from one rental to another, unsure where we would live the next year.

After a while, I got used to saying (and thinking) “Lord willing” with most of the plans I made.

Now, almost 15 years later, those two words slip out more often than not. I still like to know what lies ahead. I want to be able to plan. And yet in James 4:13-17, the Lord reminds us that He doesn’t work that way. As fallible humans, we don’t even know what tomorrow will bring.

I can take comfort in the quote, “I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but I know Who holds tomorrow.”

How about you? Have you ever added the words “Lord willing” out loud? If not, I encourage you to give it a try. It may just realign your perspective.


— Diving Deeper —

Have you ever added the words “Lord willing” out loud?


Share in the comments…


Kate Motaung

Kate Motaung grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan before spending ten years in Cape Town, South Africa. She is married to a South African and together they have three children. Kate is the author of the e-book, Letters to Grief, hosts the Five Minute Friday blog link-up, and has contributed to several other online publications.

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