Lord Willin’ and the Creek Don’t Rise

From Open Up Your Heart by Jeff Syverson

November 20

Lord Willin’ and the Creek Don’t Rise 

Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalm 126:1-3 | Ezekiel 40:28-41:26 | James 4:1-17 | Proverbs 28:3-5

Today’s Scripture Focus: James 4:1-17

“Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that’” (James 4:14 ESV).

I worked for many years with a pastor that had many colorful expressions from his Kentucky upbringing. As I was leaving the church each day, I’d say something like, “See ya.” He’d always reply the same way, “Lord Willin’ and the Creek Don’t Rise.” I just wrote it off as another one of those expressions that I don’t really get, and thought it was probably not worth the energy to pursue.

I remember not longer after that running into this passage in James, and realizing it probably was one key to understanding the: “Lord willin’” part of the expression.

But my first summer preaching at a camp in Eastern Kentucky brought light to the rest of that expression. I had to drive up a creek bed about 1/4 of a mile in order to get to the campground (a creek bed with water that could rise quickly in a rain storm). Then I understood the “creek risin’” part. Sometimes there are unplanned circumstances that keep us from our planned destination. God opens and closes doors. Sometimes unexpected circumstances become “risin’ creeks” that call for a humble readjustment of our plans.

God’s ways are not our ways, his plans are higher than ours. In all of our planning, we must have the attitude, “Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise.” Our lives sometimes take unexpected twists and turns–all a part of his path.

When we pray and when we seek his will, “Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise” is a good attitude for us to have. We humbly bow our knees to Him and his plans for us. After all, his plans for us are good ones–even when he surprises us with an occasional “creek risin’” that signals a change of plans.

Keep looking to him. In humility seek him and his plans. Recognize that even our best laid plans are always subject to God’s readjustments.

Lord, in all I plan to do today, I recognize that you may have other plans. Guide my steps, open doors, and help me to make the most of every opportunity. May even the interruptions prove to be fruitful encounters. Amen.

About pastorjeffsneighborhood

Born and raised in Minnesota, I have served in churches in Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon and California. I am a graduate of Crown College (MN) and George Fox Evangelical Seminary (OR). I have also done additional graduate studies in New Testament Studies at the Center for Advanced Theological Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary (CA). I am also a graduate of the College of Prayer. Having served as the Academic Dean and Program Director at Horizon Institute of Los Angeles for several years, I have returned to the pastorate and serve as Pastor of Big Trees Community Bible Church in Arnold, CA.
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