A Perfect Plan

Janelle Webber   -  

I have heard this phrase all my life. When I was young, I was intrigued whenever it was said.  My family never said it. My friends never said it. I never said it. I only heard it when eavesdropping on adult conversations at church. Usually it would  be an exchange about a future event and one of them would end with, “God willing”. It was a statement for sure but almost seemed to be more of a question.  I recall becoming a bit stuck and the words would roll around in my head with no place to land. I would turn away feeling uneasy, curious of just what the words meant.

Recently I was in “adult” conversation with my husband. As we discussed upcoming plans, he ended the interaction with “God willing!”. This time, I wasn’t stuck, I knew what they meant. Instead I responded the same uneasiness I had felt in my childhood. Even though I no longer wondered what it meant, I did wonder why it made me feel uneasy.

I was quite perplexed and thought about this often over the next few days. I have been a believer in Christ literally my entire life having been raised in the church and schooled through countless hours of Sunday school secessions. I have listened to a plethora of sermons and messages over the years. I have read a stack of book including the Bible in its entirety. I have sung and lead adult and children’s worship along with having taught and re-written curriculum.  Yet, here I was, wondering why the comment “God willing” made me so uncomfortable.

Maybe you have the answer already as to what I was searching for. It’s possible you too have struggled in this area during your journey. I slow realized that the culprit was having the need and desire to control the outcome of the small stuff of each day.

Oddly, I have over the years been able to leave so many big things to God – my career, finances, my health and my family relationships are a few of examples. However the thought of not making it home tonight because God’s not willing for that to happen gave me a pit in my stomach even as I type this blog. Although I have identified the reason for my uneasy feeling is the desire for control, it’s still very disconcerting.

There is so many parts of the Bible that speak to this type of fear. The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Philippians wrote:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

In Isaiah we are told:

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

A Jeremiah verse tells 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 a hope and a future. ‘” Jeremiah 29:11

With so many words of promise and encouragement from God and with Jeremiah 29:11 being my favorite Bible verse, one would think that it would follow that hearing the phrase “God willing” would bring peace and comfort. And maybe it would if I were all in, 100% believing in and relying on God. Instead, I have discovered I am like the father of the child who questioned his belief in Jesus. In this exchange found in Matthew the Father who has of a demon possessed child asked Jesus to help if He can. This then was Jesus’s reply:

“‘If you can?’ said Jesus. ‘Everything is possible for one who believes.’ Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!’” Matthew 9:23-24

As I continue to learn, grow, and trust in Christ, God willing I will soon feel comfort and peace in this phrase and will leave all my anxious thoughts to God. Until then, I will continue to ask Jesus to help me overcome my fear and anxiousness, knowing that leaving all the pieces of my life, both big and small, to God is His perfect plan.