“God”s plan for your life isn”t a map you see all at once, but a scroll unrolled a little at a time, requiring faith,” Rick Warren recently tweeted.
“God will accelerate his plan for your life as you put your trust in him. God is giving you victory sooner than you think,” says Joel Osteen.
Less prominent Christians champion the theology as well. In responding to a new believer”s question about his career, a contributor to Bible-Knowledge.com writes, “God will now be the one to fully guide you into whatever jobs he will want you to have. . . . The choice is no longer yours! In the meantime, God will make sure you have enough money and support coming in to keep you afloat until this next job comes through.”
It is comforting to believe God has mapped out our future. It is exciting to think he”s bringing me victory. And I would love for God to make sure I have enough money while I passively wait for it to happen.
But unlike pastors Warren and Osteen, Mr. Bible-Knowledge, and many Christians I know, I don”t believe God has created a plan for my life””or for yours.
Problems with “The Plan”
“¢ We take verses out of context.
Jeremiah 29:11 is a cherished verse, frequently used for encouragement in graduation cards, post-breakup pep talks and, yes, job searches. (Well-meaning believers have recited it to me in all three contexts.) Along with The Bachelorette and people who refuse to vaccinate their children, its yanked-out-of-context use is one of the biggest pet peeves of my life.
Somehow we forget the grim reality surrounding this verse: amidst oracles of doom and judgment against Judah, Jeremiah says these words to comfort the people (as a group) with promises of eventual restoration and return from exile.
This is a bit different from claiming it as a guarantee of a fulfilling job, wonderful spouse, or ministry “call.”
Moreover, for every verse we quote to support the presence of a divine plan, there are others suggesting God is not super concerned with our understanding of it.
Throughout the Bible we encounter people frustrated and confused by life. Abraham is challenged to sacrifice Isaac. Joseph is jailed in Egypt for speaking the truth and behaving honorably. Hosea is asked to marry a prostitute. John the Baptist is imprisoned and beheaded; before his death he questions the point of his entire ministry. “Are you really the one?” he asks Jesus.
Most of the “Bible heroes” experienced huge setbacks with little explanation. As for the “ordinary” believers, Jesus spoke in parables his followers didn”t understand and weren”t supposed to (Luke 8:10).
From his caution about trees in the Garden to the mysteries of Revelation, the Bible consistently communicates God”s love, his wisdom””and his apparent unconcern that we figure him out.
“¢ It can harm, not help.
For years I believed God not only had a specific plan for my life, but he was keeping it from me. As I struggled to choose a major in college, I wondered about all the other 20-year-olds in my dorm. Did they have it figured out? Why would God enlighten them and not me? As I made the first steps of my career I pleaded with God to show me his will. “You know I”ll do anything you want,” I once prayed. “Why won”t you tell me?”
My friends have struggled, as well. When I explored these concepts on my blog, one commented, “Doesn”t God lead us if we spend enough time in his presence? Isn”t a lack of “˜calling” really a sign of an immature Christian?”
If we don”t see The Plan, it”s easy to feel forgotten or ignored by God. The belief in a heavenly micromanager almost guarantees feelings of anger and resentment when the answers don”t come.
Or, like my friend, we assume the communication problem is our own lack of faithfulness. Perhaps if we prayed more fervently, fasted more frequently, or read the Bible more regularly God would finally break down and give us a glimpse of his will.
The God-has-a-plan theology must also encompass our heartaches. Does his plan really include sexually molested children? If God “gave you” your spouse, why does your equally faithful friend remain unmarried? If we believe God has a detailed plan full of good things for every person, we must also have an answer (better than “everything happens for a reason”) for that devastated child and lonely single man.
“¢ It ignores the freedom God gives us.
“The choice is no longer yours!” exclaims the website writer, apparently delighted at his loss of options.
Yet the Bible consistently points to God giving us many choices; from asking Adam to name the animals to allowing our rejection of his Son, God offers humanity a staggering amount of freedom.
We love to talk about God as Father when it comes to his love, care, and compassion, but if we are going to use the metaphor we must accept its full ramifications. My own father does not control my life. He does not make decisions for me, tell me where to work, or insist I marry a specific person. He did not tell me what to write in this article. He raised me to think critically, develop my character, and use good judgment.
If good earthly fathers do not dictate life for their children, why would a perfect heavenly Father?
So why is the belief in God”s master plan still so prevalent?
For one thing, it”s a spiritual way to abdicate responsibility””if I can figure out what ministry or profession I”m “called” to, I don”t have to risk making a bad decision on my own.
If God has already planned our majors, careers, spouses, and futures we can bypass the hard work of dating, auditioning, interviewing, researching, moving, learning, and failing. (It”s interesting that while many of us will reject Calvinist theology in matters of salvation, we embrace the idea of a predestined personal life.)
By the way, my childhood dream was to become a belly dancer, which I consider irrefutable proof that your first “calling” is not always the best one.
Many of us also believe life is a movie and we have a starring role. Have you ever noticed God always calls people to plant a church, start a ministry, or launch a speaking career? No one ever gets called to work as a maid at the Best Western in Altoona, Kansas (population 454). No one “has a passion” for less excitement or less attention. As the popular Monster.com commercials remind us, no child ever said, “When I grow up I want to file all day.”
But believing God has a specific (and blessing-filled) plan for their lives lets American individualists feel special. Preoccupation with oneself seems more holy if wrapped in Christianese language.
The problem is we aren”t all special. There was one Moses and millions of followers, one Mary and a country full of unremarkable Jewish girls. For every Billy Graham there are stadiums full of “ordinary” Christians.
Do we not feel “called” to be one of these nameless, obedient believers, or does it just offend our sense of importance? As author Donald Miller says, if you are a pregnant virgin or an angel wants to wrestle with you, God may have a plan for you. Otherwise, it”s likely you are a not a main character in the story he”s writing.
Choose Your Own Adventure
Because we”ve tied a belief in God”s plan to our understanding of his love for us, a sense of loss can accompany this realization. Some people feel scared or alone; others confuse it with lack of faith in God”s sovereignty. When I once told a boyfriend I didn”t believe God had chosen a specific person for me to marry, he sputtered and stammered, “Are you really a Christian?”
Yes, I am a Christian (one who is glad she ended that relationship). I believe God is firmly in control of his creation, accomplishing his work of redemption and salvation through (and in spite of) us, and inviting us to partner with him. I believe the call to every believer is the same””to become more like Jesus and to serve him in our own small corners of the world.
But he allows us to choose how we obey this call, and for me this is proof of his great love. He promises to direct our steps, but not to dictate them. He doesn”t say we”ll always understand, but he promises we won”t be abandoned. Jeremiah”s assurance of “a hope and a future” is not a guarantee of career fulfillment or marital bliss; it”s the promise of real relationship with a faithful, mysterious Father.
Jennifer Taylor, one of CHRISTIAN STANDARD”s contributing editors, lives in Nashville, Tennessee. Read her blog at www.seejenwrite.com.
You hit the nail on the head when you said Gods plan is for us to be more like Jesus. That is what it’s all about and has been about before the foundation of the world. To be like Christ. God has a plan, it’s called salvation. My life is broken and I can’t fix it. Failed marriages, failed jobs, failed at being the best father I could have been and I can’t fix it. I have failed at many things in my life and I can’t fix those things, but I have found the one thing that I can win, one thing I don’t have to fail at, and it’s my God given choice, my free will. I can say no to sin and yes to Jesus, I can choose to have faith in Gods word. I can still win this race and that’s success!
Great sentiments Phillip. Sounds like you are definitely on the right track.
Jennifer – what a wonderful article. Honest & refreshing. Really helped me.
P.S. So glad you dumped that guy that questioned your Christianity. Good decision.
I agree BUT your point of an earthly father and perfect heavenly father falls short. I get the point about God not controlling but your earthly father doesn’t know you like God nor does he see the future today like God does. The whole analogy of God as father will always fall short because earthly fathers are not perfect.
Dale Carnegie in How to Win Friends and Influence People makes the point that everyone wants to be important. The whole superstar Christian thing is really damaging to the faith on the whole. I see it manifested in basic religious rituals like closing our eyes and squinting our faces or extending our hands when we pray. Its also in the whole church structure and liturgy of our services and “leadership” It is everywhere and makes it hard for me to concentrate on what is important in church. People just want to feel like a super hero and therefore want miracles and other fireworks for all the wrong reason. We want these things and money so that we can spend it on ourselves not others or to glorify God.
We have a warped sense of entitlement in recent generations and I believe propaganda and expectation of a “special plan” by groups like Campus Crusade has really crippled many Christians with a constant nagging that they are inferior, just making the wrong choices, and leading people to less of a life than they could have if they just made a decision.
This is well-written and where my thinking has been struggling. Growing up in the church, praying, seeing my reality, etc. I have struggled with the concept that God has a plan or a calling because I have struggled and still do to figure out my fit in this world and how to achieve my dreams and goals. More and more I believe the Lord is there for our own individual moral compass and that how life goes is more a result of the Law of Attraction, our genetics, personality, how we present ourselves, how we are perceived by others (either accurately or inaccurately), the natural talents we each possess, our personalities, the skills we have learned and the people we have met. I still pray, but am not sure anymore what gets heard…I just chalk it up to he is doing something, there is a spiritual world playing into our lives, but the rules of the world I see dictate the most and blessing from obeying the Lord seem more in the next world than in the current world as I live.
Thank you for writing this. I appreciate your faith and how down to earth you are with life. I needed to read this.
Have you ever read “Decision Making and the Will of God” by Gary Friesen ?? It is a real eye opener. There are many “traditions” of the Christian faith that are just not biblical. Also many of the stories used by “motivational pastors” are not normative, not even in the lives of those where the miraculous happened.
I think that there’s a difference between God having a ‘plan’ for someone and a ‘purpose’ for someone. God has HIS plan (for all of creation), and we all fit into that plan. Thus you could say that we all have a different role in God’s plan – which we could call our purpose.
so I’d say, God Has a plan, not for us, but for the salvation of the world and our purpose in life is to join God in His plan in the way that He wants us to.
The problem, as some bloggers have stated is essentially that a lot of Christians feel that the only purpose that’s acceptable is super stardom and if their not the lead singer at Hillsong, a TV Evangelist or a Faith Healer then they’ve fallen short!
I didn’t find this post one bit encouraging. No, I don’t think we are puppets and God is just going to give us a perfect life, but the word guidance would be nice to know is part of his plan. The way you spelled it out, we are down here on our own.
“But he promises we won”™t be abandoned”–the truth of the matter is we are. Prayers go unanswered and at times I have suffered depression so bad that I have almost killed myself.. The fact I didn’t is of no credit to God. I accept his Son so I don’t go to Hell, but you’re article just reinforced what I have always suspected: God gave us free will and wishes us the best of luck, but don’t bother Him by praying for anything.
Jennifer: Thank you so much for this brilliant,well-reasoned article. It expresses thoughts that have confounded and vexed me for so long and which have nearly led me to the point of giving up on God.
That God has the CAPACITY to micromanage is not to say that He either intends or desires to do so. I wish that so many evangelical preachers would come to this realization, because this ‘special-plan’ theology imposes insurmountable burdens on the body of Christ.
Thank you again.
GOD is perfect beyond our imagination. GOD has a plan for everyone. EVERYONE! On all continents on earth.
Our very hairs are numbered.
Everything happens for a reason.
Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen. – Hebrew 11:1
A response to John:
My heart goes out to you. I have struggled with a lot of suffering at the hands of others…and it’s far easier for me to accept that my personal suffering is somehow a part of God’s plan, than it is to accept that somehow in God’s wisdom, evil finite human beings are responsible for choosing from an infinite number of possibilities– the consequences of which we cannot possibly predict from our limited perspective.
I don’t have the answer for you… But I can tell you that this idea of unrestrained free will in the world does not stand to reason, nor is it found in the Gospels. If you don’t believe me, read them again with new eyes– Jesus came for the sick, and the imprisoned. Who would choose to be ill or be in bondage of they could choose otherwise all on their own? For myself, I’ve come to believe that There is no free will apart from Christ. And the freedom we do find in Christ is restrained to whether we continue to choose a life in the Spirit, or return to one of separation and illusion.
Well stated. Right on target. My impression is that believers understandably want comfort in the face of all the horrible circumstances that can befall us. it makes us feel better to think that God is benevolently behind it all. if that is the case, we can relax. but the Fall did a number of humanity, and not just unbelievers. we all labor under the effects of sin, and if God is programming things so that believers don’t have to suffer the consequences of the Fall, then the Bible fails to point that out. I do indeed wish all my life’s events were exactly what God designed, but in my heart I know personally the sinful motives that led to many of the unfortunate events I experienced. and I learned from them. but I doubt seriously that God programmed me to sin as I did. Good article, well articulated. thanks.
Think of it this way. The Lord is our Shepherd and we are his sheep. Without a shepherd we would all be scattered and lost. When you become saved you are a part of the lord”™s flock. Sheep do not make their own decisions they follow what the shepherd intends for them. If you follow and believe in the bible then you are being tended by God and you are not in control. You are a part of God”™s will and we all play a role in it. When you follow Gods word every decision that you make in life is based on God”™s word, so in a sense you are not making your own decisions. God is doing all of the decision making for you. Decisions unguided by God are fleshly decisions and we all know the outcome of fleshly decisions. God has a will for everyone whether it is glorious or humble. Just accept what God is doing in your life and know that he is working on you. God is not human and do not expect him to think like one. You will never understand the reasoning behind a majority of his decisions, so do not stress yourself out trying to. Just follow him and accept that everything that happens in life is a part of his plan for you. FAITH in god and everything that he says in the bible will destroy any doubt that you have. If your heart is with God and you have given yourself to him then the decisions that you make are driven by him and not you. YOU ARE NOT MAKING THE DECISIONS IF YOU HAVE TRULY GIVEN YOURSELF TO GOD HE IS.
Well said, Eddie; some good points though Jennifer. I think these big preachers put people under a cloud of feeling inadequate because success in serving the Lord is portrayed as this big blinding ministry all the time and I sympathise with struggling to hear God on decisions . . . not that God doesn’t do that, but the truth is we should be looking to God’s Word primarily to discern his will. There’s been a lot of extreme teaching out there over the years in this matter, and I think it’s done a lot of damage. The emphasis in Scripture is on God leading us, as Eddie has said. I reccommend the books The Mystery of God’s Will by Chuck Swindoll and Trusting God by Jerry Bridges.
Dear Jennifer: I have mulled over this article several times since it appeared in the Standard. I read all the comments, and there were many as you know, even from the highly respected Victor Knowles. Good points were made from both perspectives, but I tended to agree with the ‘opposition’ as it were.
Still, when I thought about your article, my thoughts about God’s plans for us were nebulous, at best. Until this last year when it all seemed to gel. Goes DOES have a plan for each of us and that plan is that we each and every one will ‘die to self’ daily (Luke 9:23) at which point, all the pieces will fall into place; but that will look different for each of us. This is not an abstract concept; nothing in the Bible is, I have come to believe, though oftentimes it can be difficult to grasp these truths on a personal level.
So I went back and reread your article to see if you had touched on this, but if you did, I missed it.
And the reason God can be so detail oriented when it comes to each of us is because the Kingdom of God is within us (Luke 17:21) through the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Jesus (Romans 8:9).
And then there’s Ephesians 2:10; sounds like a plan to me! : )
Lest this smack of Calvinism, I believe we all have free will, and can spit in God’s face if we so choose and as the Romans did to Jesus. But once we surrender, and His Spirit invades us to the extent WE allow it, then we are more open to His presence and His guidance. And what a wonderful place to be…life abundant, to the max!
L W Park
I believe Jennifer is right on many points. But the Bible does say to acknowledge the Lord on all thy ways and he shall direct your path. It’s up to me to take that direction or ignore it and take my own. Fear is the biggest obstacle of trying to follow the Lord’s directions as we worry about the outcome resulting from following his direction. And just how much we fear his direction says a lot about how much we trust and know him…doesn’t it?
I have been struggling with infertility for many years. People always tell me God has a plan, there is a reason you are struggling with this. I know for some, thinking that helps them, but it never has helped me. I don’t believe that God wants me to suffer and struggle. I don’t think he wants children born to women who are on drugs. Reading your article has put my mind at ease, more than anything anyone has ever said to me! Thank you!
Thanks for posting this thought-provoking article. It’s something I’ve been thinking about. I believe God has both an overall plan for all of humanity and in many respects, a plan for each of us. He doesn’t necessarily have a program for each day or even year. He doesn’t necessarily have a spouse or career picked out for us, but he has given us the capacity to work these things out for ourselves and to seek guidance through prayer and the Holy Ghost. He has answered many of my prayers. I know He is there and wants the best for us. But there are many times where answers don’t come and we are left wondering what to do. These are times for growth. That is one of the main purposes of our lives – to grow in character, in capacity to choose and to act with our own free will. To choose to follow Christ! We have the Scriptures to teach us of his character and his actions. Go and do likewise (Luke 10:37).
God’s plan is that all of humankind be redeemed through his Son. That is his work and glory. He knew awful and terrible things would happen to us here in this life because of the agency he gave us. His plan is to redeem us from those things as we accept Christ. People can heal from awful things. Think of Elizabeth Smart who was kidnapped and raped at 14 – what could be worse? But she has healed through faith in Christ. Check out her video https://youtu.be/lfQlN_rhzNQ.
I really enjoyed this post and article, Jennifer. Thank you for writing and sharing it, and please keep up everything.
According to Ms. Johnson, God does not have any plan for my life at all except that I should not sin, & that I should do something good with my life””whatever I want.
She quotes one verse in Jeremiah that admittedly has been abused, & then she abuses it in a different way.
Scripture clearly teaches that God DOES have plans for our lives, & he DOES reveal them at times to those who listen.
Did God have no plan for Adam”™s life? She cited God allowing Adam freedom to name the animals whatever he wanted, but she forgot God”™s command to name the animals. God also told him to fill the Earth, & subdue it.
Did God have no plan for Noah”™s life? As long as he avoided sin, he could do whatever good things he wanted”¦?
What about Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, Solomon, Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Jonah, Mary, John, Peter or Paul?
Anyone who has read the Bible knows that God did have specific plans for each of them, & we can easily find God”™s specific instructions for them.
Of course God allows freedom in many choices. (The author clearly does not understand Calvinism”™s errors, BTW.) But he has specific plans for us in other areas. And he reveals those plans in different ways to his people.
Just because God hasn”™t told her his will in certain areas doesn”™t mean that he doesn”™t tell anyone his will.
Ms. Johnson reminds me of the folks who twist 1 Corinthians 13 to say that miracles aren”™t for today, possibly because they haven”™t personally experienced God”™s supernatural intervention.
She says God directs our steps but does not dictate them, but God wants to dictate the steps of his people, as the following passages* teach:
Psalm 25:12 “” Who is the man who fears the Lord? Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose.
Psalm 32:8 “” I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Psalm 73:23, 24 “” Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.
Isaiah 30:20, 21 “” And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.
Isaiah 58:11 “” And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong;
Romans 8:14 “” For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
Romans 12:2 “” Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
James 1:5 “” If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
Ms. Johnson would add an asterisk on James 1:5 that severely limits the kind of wisdom you can ask for.
I could write hundreds more words about God”™s gracious, specific directions in my life. Ms. Johnson can”™t take that wonderful guidance away from me.
I”™m disappointed that CS would allow this misleading article to be published.
And my heart breaks for commenter John, who posted on 2/27. (Admittedly, he extrapolated things from the article that aren’t there.) I hope he reads my comment & receives hope from it.
*The passages are in order of how they appear in the Bible. These are all general passages about God wanting to direct our lives. The list does not include the many, many instances of God giving specific guidance to individuals in the Bible, or the passages where individuals are asking God to guide them specifically, such as Psalm 143:7, 8.
Well said, probably the most well said thing on this web page/article.
Thank you for this well reasoned article! For the longest time I drove myself insane trying to figure out if the simplest things were apart of “the will of god.” Everything from choosing what classes to take in college, who I should date, what major to choose, what job I should apply for, etc.
Even the simplest of tasks like choosing what clothes/shoes would look good on me were made unnecessarily difficult because I needed an affirmation of “God’s will.” I was looking for a sign or a voice from Heaven.
After a little research and experience I began to realize that God’s written Word is sufficient and going crazy trying to nit pick “God’s will” for your life is pretty insane, especially when his will for all of humanity is written in his Word, the Bible. I am also of the belief that God does not have a specific call or will for each life, his overall will is, like you mentioned, for us to be more like Christ. I’ve read several other similar articles that pretty much confirmed my view, with scriptural backing.
Unfortunately a lot of people in this world will remain at the same point in there lives for a long time because, like I did in the past, they are waiting for some form of supernatural revelation that shows them God’s “plan” for their life.
If you spend your entire life trying to figure out everything God wants you to do, down to the metaphorical “T,” you probably won’t get much done.
You have to realize this one truth with God and it’s that you are not a robot. The way some Christians identify with life is that their life’s are a part of a plan or purpose so they try to discredit themselves and glorify God only. This is the recipe for rebellion a lack of fulfillment. We search for meaning, purpose, and destiny in a manner that is controlled against our wills in that even in fulfilling it we are not satisfied. Have you ever been on the winning team and although you won because you didn’t contribute as you would’ve liked, you didn’t quite have the same excitement as everyone else. This is most Christians.
Here’s how we must view life. God created us in his image (likeness, authority, dominion). I am not created to appease God’s ego, I am not created to love God because he was lonely, I am not to follow a script. I am created because God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit wanted to share what they have together which is perfect with others. The way 2 parents have a child as an extension of themselves and they should not force a child to fill a particular role. But you entrust that all that you have taught your child will allow them to be blessed in whatever arena of their life that they go. The same with God, he instructs us of his will for our benefit not entrapment. If you have these principles in you then all you do will be blessed. You will find purpose and meaning in all that you do. You are not called to be robots, you are blessed in the city, blessed in the field. You also by strengthening your faith have the power through God to speak things that be not as though they were into existence. This takes much time as this world has polluted are thinking and what is in our hearts. But as we meditate and stay in God’s presence by making time for him our faith will be strengthened.
God Bless You All
Thank you for the kind words about my previous comment, Eric Thomas.
Sadly…No, tragically, this awful article is still here, & people are still being deceived by it.
How can anyone who reads the Bible think God does not have a specific plan for peoples’ lives???
Folks, please read what the Bible says about this topic in my comment from November 27, 2015.
Christian Standard, please remove this article & post an apology.
The most important thing is to have faith/ believe that Jesus is God and to love/live righteously and the Bible teaches us to how .
This is probably the most stupid article I have ever read. People are simply not willing to wait on God and follow Him and then they come up with some stupid excuses.
Romans 14:13-23 (ESV)
13 Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.
I will pray for you!
There’s a lot going on in my personal world right now. A birth of a new son, an impending surgery that frightens me something fierce and as of yesterday, a loss in the family. Just so much going on right now and feeling somewhat aimless and scared.
So, I thought “I’ll Google some questions that I’m having about God and see what comes along.” This, unfortunately, was one of the first things that popped up.
It’s written with a tone of anger and bitterness, I feel. I don’t see the joy or grace that God has bestowed upon Jennifer when she wrote this. That, right there, is proof of free will that she was trying so hard to sell.
It backfired on her, however. Fortunately, we know that God can use anything and everything to his will and while she dropped the ball, he picked it right up and passed it on to the rest of us who see it for what it is.
Everyone automatically goes to the tropes of “Why does God allow Cancer?” Why does God allow this horrible thing to happen to children?” and I read one of the comments talking about fertility and how they used to cling to the belief that God has a plan for us, but they no longer do.
How on Earth can you live in true happiness with God if that’s what you look to? If you don’t believe he doesn’t at least have a hand in your life, then you can’t believe he’s in it at all. Except to blame him and make him the villain of all your trials and tribulations.
Has it ever occurred to any of you that the Devil is at work, here, too? Why can’t he be the one who made it so people had Cancer? Why can’t he be the one that allows children to be hurt? Why can’t he be the one who makes for our suffering? Everyone always looks to God with fingers pointed and blame at the ready, but no one seems to remember that the Devil is doing his due diligence to make our lives miserable.
God did indeed give us free will. Usually we use that free will to partake of what the Devil has provided us on this planet and to look away from what God has been offering us.
For the sake of argument, just follow me for a sec…
The Devil brings Cancer. God brings knowledge to the people who find ways to combat it, treat it and eradicate it.
The Devil brings suffering to children. Jesus said ” Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. ”
To the woman who has been unable to carry children of her own, first, my sincerest apologies to you and your suffering. I hope and pray that it changes. That said, have you ever considered that perhaps you’re a mother in search of a child and there’s a child in search of a mother? Adoption is an option and God would bless it just the same as if you carried the child yourself. Clearly you have love to give, share it with someone who desperately needs it.
God is with us. Even if we can’t feel it at a given moment in time, perhaps we’re not meant to. Sometimes just knowing is more than enough.
This specific piece of the main article is what stuck out the most…
” Throughout the Bible we encounter people frustrated and confused by life. Abraham is challenged to sacrifice Isaac. Joseph is jailed in Egypt for speaking the truth and behaving honorably. Hosea is asked to marry a prostitute. John the Baptist is imprisoned and beheaded; before his death he questions the point of his entire ministry. “Are you really the one?” he asks Jesus. ”
Jennifer, you speak of people misconstruing things in the Bible, and I want you to know you’re doing it here, too.
Abraham was challenged to sacrifice Isaac, yes, but not for the reason you think. God declared it so that he knows what is in our hearts. He knows what we do and will do. The real reason Abraham was challenged? So God could show him that he does, in fact, have a full trust and faith in God. God didn’t need Isaac dead, Abraham didn’t need to kill his son, God just wanted Abraham to see that he did in deed have enough faith and strength to follow God to the letter. God was merciful and just and let his son live so they could see God’s mercy.
John The Baptist was indeed beheaded for his actions, and yes he asked Christ if he was the one and he received his answer. All of the people of fame in the Old Testament helped God build his church upon this Earth. Humanity refused it and God stepped in. Sodom & Gomorra? Lot was saved, his wife didn’t listen. Noah? He was faithful and did what God commanded of him, even though those around him mocked and laughed and impugned God. Noah and his people survived. God tried with humanity again and again and again, each time, we just fought back harder and harder, with better tools and technology and more hate in our hearts.
Everything changed when God sent us Jesus Christ, his one and only son. God decided to take a new approach, sticking with the free will portion so many people wish to cling to. Instead of doing the same things over and over again, God decided “Alright. Let them come to me.” and so, so many have. Instead of wiping out the world again, instead of burning cities to the ground again, God allowed us to live as we choose to, but gave us an option to escape that life we chose and to choose the one he has laid out in a PLAN FOR US.
For so long, so many people have looked at God as a guy with his gun to your head, when really we’re the ones putting that gun there and he’s over at the door, knocking for us to let him in so he can pull that gun out of our hands and to show us the path he wishes us to walk.
” Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. ”
Jennifer, you say God has no plan for our lives, but you’re wrong. With everything worrying me and going on in my life right now, especially with the death in the family, I needed guidance now more than ever. God’s plan was for me to read this and see that you were wrong and I was right, that he does indeed have a plan for me, for all of us.
And it’s true, he does. We still have free will, those are the moments when we walk our own path. When we follow God’s we don’t need our free will, we just need his guidance and his loving hand to push us gently forward.
God’s will is different for each and every one of us, but the core of it is the same. Our paths may take us elsewhere from one another for now, but they all lead back to one place: HIM.
God’s will is that we live like Jesus, some of you have said. That’s true, but you can only live like Jesus did if you follow God’s plan and walk his path. He’s just waiting for you to accept his gift and take a small step into a larger world.
Thank you. I identify with this article quite strongly. Yes, God did give instructions to people in the bible as John Allcott stated. However I am hoping that his misguidance was not intentional. “Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, Solomon, Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Jonah, Mary, John, Peter or Paul” were given as examples. Fifteen, out of -thousands-.
The reason I say this could be misguidance is because of what I have witnessed in the people around me who believe “God has a plan for me”. They do not try, because if God thinks they should have something, they will have it. They do not take responsibility for their lives and their futures. This is dangerous, even deadly. Not going prepared to a job interview because if you were supposed to have the job, you’d get it? Failing to care for a sick lamb because if God wanted it to live, it would live? You can say “Jesus take the wheel” all you’d like, but that doesn’t mean driving through a red light isn’t going to seriously hurt you.
I understand where you are coming from, but at the same time, I feel that you are taking what is being said by many people about God’s plan out of context. While I can’t speak for Rick Warren or Joel Osteen, I know that when I speak of God’s plan for our lives I am speaking in a spiritual way. God does not control what we do for a living, where we live, who we marry, or any other physical aspect of our lives. Those are our choices. I do, however, believe that people are called to certain ministries to serve God. I feel that when we have a calling to do something, whether it be preaching, teaching, singing, or whatever, that is a part of the plan God has for our lives. I can be a hugely successful business owner or a pizza delivery guy and still preach or teach the gospel.
I have been a Christian for only two years and have been filled with the question, “What does God want me to do in my life? What plan do you have for me Lord?” I grew up poor; I was raped and beaten most of my childhood. I was 12 when my mother died at age 32. I witnessed one grandma die of cancer and the other die from drinking too much. By the age of 14, as you might guess, I hated this life, and I became hooked on drugs until age 24. I met my wife when she was 15; we have had 2 beautiful kids. That being said, my second child was born after I moved 13 hours from my hometown to get off drugs, stay out of prison, and become the parent to my kids that I never had. I did well, got a great job, was making good money, and then my son was born a year later. Before his birth, I knew about the Lord but never did anything to get to know him. I never prayed, I never begged the Lord for anything, except when I was locked up and was coming off drugs. My life was based on my “free will and emotions.” I made horrible decisions, cheated on my wife, and was focused on the flesh. After I had moved away and was drug-free for a year, my son arrived. He was a beautiful and amazing kid, always smiling, etc., but he was constantly sick. My daughter never had any health problems, so I was not used to this. I stayed numerous nights at the hospital while he was sick, crying with my wife and daughter. Finally his symptoms improved and we thought he was better. But after feeding him and laying him down for his nap, he never woke up. It was determined he had SIDS. I battled depression. After a few months, my wife grabbed my hand and said we needed to come out of this for our daughter’s sake. She said we needed to start praying. She started reading the Bible to me and teaching me about Jesus. Things gradually improved; we started wrapping our lives more and more around Jesus and trying to be like him. I think the real reason I started believing was because I didn’t want to believe my son was really dead. My wife assured me our son is alive and with Someone who loves him even more than we do–that’s when I started getting better. I pray every day, listen to Christian music, and learn as much as I can about Him because I would love to be with my son again. What I am getting to is this: God has a plan for your life if you read the Bible and listen to him. Even now I struggle financially””I work at a restaurant making minimum wage””but spiritually I am more alive than ever. I love to talk to people about Jesus and enjoy spending time with my family. God does have a plan for each and every person; His plan is for us to do whatever it takes to get to know him. I am a father and so is God. My love could never be as strong as his, and knowing how much it hurts to miss out on my child, I can’t imagine how much it would hurt God if he were never to know his children. He will do anything to get to know you. Whatever it takes, and after he does, he needs your help to ask the rest of his children to get to know him as well. In God’s eyes, each person is all important and he loves you greatly. It doesn’t matter what job you have or what disease you carry. God’s plan isn’t to make sure you never suffer or that you drive an expensive car and live in a million-dollar house. His plan for you is to take you home so you can live forever. His plan is to love you and for you to love him and be his child. That’s what I have grasped so far from reading Scripture and learning about my father as much as possible. I thank the Lord that I have gone through what I have gone through, and that I am where I am. If that wasn’t the case, then I wouldn’t know and love and praise my creator. If I had loads of money, I’m sure I would be prideful and look down on others. Because I have done drugs in my past, I don’t judge others because I understand they are trying to ignore their reality and want to be part of a group. So every part of my life, I believe God has a plan; it has made me who I am””I am a follower of Jesus and a child of God. The person who wrote this article sounds like they are still pretty angry at God and need to trust that God’s plan for each and every person is different; it is more than we will ever understand. May God bless his children and the nonbelievers, for we all need his grace as we are all sinners. May we all be more like Jesus and less like Satan.
God’s plans… from Genesis all throughout Psalms and Revelation…. until today and always, God is Good ….Prayers United… God’s plans will prevail… In Christ Jesus’ name, Holy Spirit, Amen!
If you want to use Jeremiah 29:11 as the basis of your argument, so be it. The rest of Scripture supports God’s plans for his followers. We can look at Genesis 12 to begin with. The whole story of Abraham is about plans. Jump to Genesis 37. Joseph had plans from God that he suffered for intensely. How about David? He was appointed King as a teenage shepherd. He suffered and ran from Saul just because his predecessor was jealous. Jesus suffered, he was also in God’s overreaching plan to save us. What kind of parent saves their child then abandons them? “I am with you until the end of the age,” (Matthew 28:20 b) Scripture supports a loving God, with a plan for your life.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, WHICH God HAS prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Read the whole counsel of God’s word.