James 4:13-17 warns against forgetting God’s purpose for your life as you make plans. He wrote:
“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.’ But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.”
Earthly life is pictured as a vapor, a brief thing that passes quickly and is no more. Through James, God has instructed us to think of more than ourselves as we make plans for our life. We need to think about God’s will in all that we do.
For many, “Lord willing” has become a common phrase when making plans with others. “Lord willing, we will see each other for lunch tomorrow.” “Let’s do this again next year, Lord willing.” This phrase serves as a reminder that as we make plans, we are not entirely in control. God is at work, and God may have already laid plans for our lives contrary to ours. If God’s plans conflict with ours, we defer to His authority and submit to His will.
Saying “Lord willing” is not a requirement but may aid those prone to forget God in their plans. We ought to consider God’s plans and purposes in everything we do. Let us first be servants of God, then consider what plans we may make while serving Him.