While attending a friend’s high school graduation, the commencement speaker gave an excellent speech, one that Christian graduates don’t often hear. While telling the graduates that God doesn’t care which college or career path they choose, he also balanced it out by encouraging them to seek God in fellowship and prayer, to use the wisdom God has given in His Word, and to pursue godliness. He said if Jesus were to give a commencement speech, He might simply say, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might, and love your neighbor as yourself.”
Preachers and teachers have often said, “God has a wonderful plan for your life,” as if each step is mapped out, which has led to a lot of confusion, not only in trying to find the elusive plan but in dealing with the subject of evil. Although I understand that some will say His plan starts after a person accepts Christ, which may answer someone’s question, “Was it part of God’s plan for me to be abused as a child?”, making the answer, “No,” it still falls short. And some would say, “Yes, it was a part of God’s plan for your life.” Sure God can turn what was meant for evil into something good, as in the case of Joseph being sold into slavery by his brothers, but how does it make sense to anyone, much less a child to imply that his or her suffering under the hands of abusive parents was all a part of a good God’s plan? That’s where the long debated subject of God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility comes in.
“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.” —Jennifer Taylor in “God Does Not Have a Plan for Your Life”
Does God have a plan for our lives? Yes. He has provided a plan of salvation and reconciliation, and that plan includes the plan of conforming us into the image of His Son. He is not a puppet master pulling all the strings. He has given us a Book of wisdom and the responsibility to study it, apply it, and seek Him and His counsel… or the freedom to not. Just as He had an overall plan for the Israelites and gave them promises with conditions to choose or reject them, although He was very patient, He did allow them to suffer the consequences when they continually rejected His commandments and wisdom. Both the promises and the consequences were a part of His plan, but He gave them the freedom to choose. He also gives us the freedom to choose. That was His plan all along.
“Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” —Psalm 119:105