Sunday, February 15, 2009

Close the Gate – God Willing

NOTE: Occasionally, I'll be sharing guest articles and devotionals with you. Today, here's one from an online friend, Nancy Kraayenhof. Enjoy!

Close the Gate - God WillingWhile walking through a store the other day I overheard a snippet of a conversation a couple of older gentlemen were having. “…God willing and the creek don’t rise,” one said. I don’t know what they were talking about.

I remember having heard my folks saying the same phrase numerous times when I was growing up, “God willing and the creek don’t rise.” It’s really just a fancy way of saying “barring unforeseen circumstances”… or is it? And where did it come from?

I was surprised to learn Benjamin Hawkins first penned the phrase in a letter during the War of 1812 when he was requested to return to our nation’s capitol. It was written as ‘God willing and the Creek don’t rise’. What I always thought was a body of water ready to reach the flood point turned out to be the Creek people. Benjamin Hawkins was a Colonel with the US army and became Agent to the Creek Nation. He was instrumental in treaty talks with the Creek, Cherokee, Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians and oversaw a peaceful 21 years in this position.

Though this is interesting information and all, the key to this phrase, that I would like to chat about today, is ‘God willing’.

In many cultures and religions including Jewish, Islamic and Christian, the phrase “God willing” is often added to the stating of something that you wish may occur. Like, ‘I’ll see you tomorrow, God willing.’ Or, another example: ‘God willing, the country’s financial system will get straightened out.’

The phrase is a simple reminder in all times, including these troubled economic times, that God might, after all, end the world sometime between now and when the stock market opens tomorrow. Nothing is certain and only He knows for sure.

Life requires us to hold things in a loose grip and not be set on a certain outcome. An appointment, a graduation, a vacation, a marriage – all things are in God’s hands. To live is to wait for His will to reveal itself. And so we are privileged to pass the time with a sense of adventure.

Before I got so tired, (and what’s up with that?) I used to read a mystery right before bedtime. With sleepy eyes, wanting to finish, struggling to stay awake in order to discover what is true and to see how things will turn out. That is the venture of living.

If the fulfillment of every plan and promise rests on God’s say-so, then His hand is hidden in everything that happens. Every tragedy and blessing is a part of some unknowable purpose. I may not always get my own way but I believe, though the will of God may be uncertain, His presence is unmistakable. Saying ‘God willing’ is like tipping your hat to Him and acknowledging that you know who’s in control.

My calendar has room to make commitments to fill the entire year. I make plans for the future. I make appointments. I may even one day buy plane tickets for that long awaited holiday, but I hold these things loosely. Lightly. I make my promises and then I wait on the edge of my seat to find out because my heart is always whispering in the ear of my life, “God willing.”

My days are going fairly well, though seeming longer, they are quite fulfilling,

I’ll dance through time with a smile on my face and I’ll close the gate, God willing.

Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult, I’m Nancy Kraayenhof. Drop me a line at


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