In fact, growing up as an Episcopalian, a child of Scots, Danes and the English, I never remember hearing it at all. God hung around at church, in Sunday school, youth group, choir, but I never really thought of God hanging around imposing his will.
My childhood was pretty good. Family around, great schools, church, friends. Shopped at good stores, had a great house, in a good neighborhood. Went to college.
I think I heard the phrase when I traveled south to college first in North Carolina and then Georgia, but during college I was not hanging around church as much. When home, it was the Episcopal Church, where much debate was going on around Civil Rights. To me, God Willing was not a question but more of a statement. God Wills.
God was on the side of Civil Rights, the end of the Vietnam War, and Womens Rights. God willed these things because the world needed to be better. We humans were letting God down.
When my first marriage ended, I never thought God willed it. Why would God will it? We were both good people, loved our daughter. We are still good people.
Before I remarried, I remember asking for a sign, yea or nay. I thought I received it. Yea. So, I remarried.
I am obviously not too good at reading God's will.
I never gave it much thought that God willed me to do this or that, college or not, math major or special education, marriage or not, mother or not. I have to admit, I was too busy being in the midst of living to wonder if someone was directing the whole thing, willing it.
My mother's heart problem and passing, was the body, not God. Why would he will her to leave us?
I recently had a conversation with someone who had been reminded by a friend, that when he was growing up, all they had was faith, not much opportunities. So, God willing was his way of coming to grips with was to be or not to be.
Until I traveled to Sudan, which was obviously God's will.
In šāʾ Allāh (إن شاء الله) is an Arabic term evoked by many Muslims speakers to indicate hope for an aforementioned event to occur in the future. The phrase translates into English as "God willing" or "If it is God's will". In Arabic speaking countries the term is used by members of all religions; meaning the term in and of itself does not denote a religion, but simply means "God willing."
Will there be food for my family?
Will I be married?
Will I have children and will they be healthy?
Will I be employed?
Will I have a long life? If I become ill, will I be healed?
There is a fine line between fatalism and faith.
Fatalism "a doctrine that events are fixed in advance so that human beings are powerless to change them."
Being in Sudan, many of my distractions from home, were gone. God seemed much closer, had my attention more often. Not much got in the way.
And, I began to understand the phrase, though I did not always embrace it.
Why would it be God's will to have his people poor, homeless, hungry, uneducated, mutilated?
As Linus once said" I love humanity, it's people I can't stand."