If I Will, You Will

One minute I had my perfect post-college plans set, and the next I was convinced they would never come to fruition.

The plan (or so I had hoped) was to move overseas in 2015, a few months after graduation. I saw no need to look for a full-time job or move back in with my parents, because I was going to start my life as a cross-cultural worker when I wanted.

It quickly became apparent that my timeline and God’s timeline weren’t matching up, despite my best attempts to get my way. I went to my university pastor for advice, and he told me to pray and listen to what God was telling me about it.

I prayed and very clearly God told me, “If the Lord wills, you will do this, but wait.”

While that wasn’t the answer I wanted, I listened, and it paid off. I’m only a few months into my term, but I can see that if I hadn’t waited and listened, delaying my plans by a year, so much would be different.

Even as I try to stay focused on my work in South Asia, I find myself wondering about what’s next, and He continues to remind me, “If the Lord wills.”

The only One with the authority and power to keep me where I am tells me, “Only if I will it, will you stay in South Asia. Only if I will it, will you have that job or this job in the future. Only if I will it, will you be married and have a family in my timing.”

We see the same pattern in Scripture. James writes, “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. . . . Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that’ ” (James 4:13–15 NIV).

I don’t always know what tomorrow brings, or how long the Lord will allow me to stay in this place. The same is true wherever you find yourself. That’s why we must listen to God. That’s why living in an “If the Lord wills” mindset is important. When we do this, we can live in each moment that comes our way, listening to the One Who controls our days.


Emily Todd* is a cross-cultural worker serving among the people of South Asia.

*Name changed.


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