Every once in a while in an old piece of literature or a letter, we may run across a pair of words that cause us to be puzzled and perhaps say, “Hmmm. I may have to look that up someday.” The words are the two Latin words Deo Volente. Sometimes they may simply be demarcated as “D.V.” Admittedly, it may be dated, and the fact that it is in another language, antiquated as well doesn’t help. Quite simply this phrase means “God willing.” In its purest understanding, it means that God as Creator and Sovereign over all creation holds the final say as to what will happen in His Kingdom.
In our self-determination, we may boldly proclaim our plans to the world. Deo Volente reminds us to hold those aspirations loosely, just in case the Lord has better plans in mind.
James 4:13-17 makes this case:
“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.’ But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.”
In James, we are reminded that we are only transient vapors, and as such do not have omnipotent divine powers so as to direct the future, ours or anyone else’s. Do we make plans? Sure! And we do our best to carry them out as we are led by the Lord to do so. But, to set them in concrete is to be arrogant, and thus evil. For, in so doing, we place our plans above God’s.
Rather, we are mere vessels upon the waters of the Lord. We chart our course and allow for His sovereign grace of direction. To do otherwise is to be less-than-willing to alter course in favor of the Lord’s leading.
When it all comes down to it, shouldn’t we be more comfortable with an all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-present God calling the shots with full authority from His divine throne?
After all, it was Christ Himself who gave us the example in the Garden. As the human nature wrestles with the ravages of impending death imposed upon the Cross, He concedes to the divine will. “My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done” (Matthew 26:42).
It may not be a fancy Latin term – Deo Volente; It may be a simple “As the Lord wills”, or “The will of the Lord be done.” What is most important is that one’s heart embraces the sovereign decree of the loving Father.
“The mind of man plans his way,
But the LORD directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).
I pray that you are resolute in your convictions. And I pray that you are passionate and steadfast in your plans and desires. Yet, above all, I pray that you are keen to sense the better directions of the Lord as He makes them known.