on not presuming

When I went to Houston earlier this month, I use the phrase “the good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.” My Facebook and blog friend Tahoe Mom commented on that, and I reflected that using that phrase is my way of following the teaching in the Epistles, that one should say “God willing” when talking about one’s plans. I couldn’t remember exactly where it was in the Epistles, so I looked it up. Turns out it was from the book of James, James 4:13-15 to be exact.

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there, doing business and making money.” Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wishes, we will live and do this or that.”

Not uplifting, I admit, but true, and it does not hurt us to remember, especially now in Lent, that nothing is guaranteed and that life is fragile.

And besides, the passage is given additional credibility in my mind because it comes from the writer of what to me is one of the most important set of verses in the Bible, James 2:14-17:

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

A critically important message for the Church in today’s world.

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