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  • Shawn Thornton

Deo Volente

Thursday - March 4th

Devotionals from the Book of James

Scripture to Read Today: James 4:11-17


You ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will,

we will live and do this or that.”

James 4:15

As a teen growing up in Mishawaka, Indiana, my first formal job was at age fourteen at a greenhouse. The job was very part-time and seasonal. I worked after school in the spring and over spring break and early summer break. It was hard work. But I enjoyed it.

Two different owners operated the greenhouse and flower shop during my high school working career. The first owner was a Christian man who loved to hire young Christian high school students. Mr. Coffman had owned the business for several decades and taught me so much.

He sold the greenhouse and bought a large property with a lake in Minnesota. In my final months of working for Mr. Coffman, he described the beauty of this dream property and the incredible plans he had to hike, hunt, and fish on his very own property. As a small business owner, he had taken very few vacations or days off in the decades of running the greenhouse. So, I found myself excited for this new retirement stage that he and his wife would enjoy.

Soon after the Coffmans moved from Indiana to Minnesota, Mr. Coffman died suddenly. He made so many plans and had worked so hard to get to that stage of retirement. I felt so bad for him and his family.

The Bible tells us that God knows the number of our days. He knows when He will call us home to Himself.

The Scriptures also tell us that God is sovereign over all of our circumstances in life. He doesn't just control the details of our birth and death. He sovereignly weaves His eternal plan.

When we make plans for the future, we have to understand that ultimately He is in charge. We can plan, save, and prepare for what is coming in life - but God still is in charge. James warns us that we can plan and prepare for tomorrow, but we should recognize that God in His sovereignty might have other plans. "So, we should say 'Lord Willing' when we determine we will do something" (James 4:15).

The early church used Latin for "Lord willing" as they made plans. As they wrote about personal or business strategies for the future, church leaders would simply say, "Deo Volente" - "God Willing." Early church letters often had "DV" at the bottom of a letter to say that any plans being shared in the writing were subject to the Lord's willingness for those plans to happen. They depended on Him.

Maybe your plans this week are not as dramatic as the Coffmans selling their business and moving into retirement. This week find ways to intentionally say to yourself (and maybe others) that your plans are in God's hands. Drop the little initials, "DV," into your emails or social media. Find ways to express that your plans are in his hands and will only happen if He is willing!

When making plans, we should recognize God's sovereignty by simply saying, "Lord Willing."


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