Dec 13, 2009

Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills..."

This year, our Bible study group is looking at the General Epistles. The title of this post is taken from the epistle of St. James. (No, not the one buried in Santiago -- the other one!) Here is a bit more of the context:

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”
James 4:13-15

Almost 20 years ago, I was part of a small group of college kids who went downtown every Friday evening and attempted to "witness" to people using a combination of music, mime, and dance to draw a crowd. Once in a while I got into some very interesting conversations with people. One of those conversations had actually been started by one of my friends, who then called me in to participate. The gentleman he was speaking with was a Muslim visiting from Egypt, who told my friend that if he could convince him of the truth of Christianity, he would become a Christian right then and there.

It didn't happen, of course. What did happen is that Ayman and I spoke for almost an hour, and then agreed to meet again to continue our conversation. As we parted I said, "See you next week, insh'Allah." He was amazed to hear a Christian say this, so when we met again the next week I was able to point him to this passage in James. "If the Lord wills" is a very good translation of the Arabic expression that is used by both Christians and Muslims in the Arab-speaking world.

So, why am I posting this on my Camino blog? Well, this evening as I was looking over my flight details in the confirmation email I had received from the online booking agent I noticed that my return date was 16 January, and not 17 February as I had requested. While I could send an email now, I'd rather wait until Monday to call during office hours. I must say that the representative who had "helped" me book my ticket only got my credit card number because they were able to offer me a price that was $40 cheaper than if I'd booked it myself directly with the airline.

Today or tomorrow I will go to such and such a city and spend six weeks there.... or perhaps I should be saying, "If the Lord wills, I shall live and do this or that."

يا رب ارحم -- Lord have mercy!

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