Often, I hear people talk about God’s plan, as if it’s a road map for their life. I’ve never liked that. The idea that God has made this detailed plan for my life makes me wonder why God even needs me to be involved. Telling me that free will entails whether I decide to follow this plan or not is, frankly, cold comfort. Besides, I just don’t think it works that way. I’m pretty sure God is a little to busy to worry about who I’m dating or what I have for breakfast.
That’s not to say that God doesn’t have a plan. My friend, Hugh Hollowell, is a writer and speaker in addition to running a multi-hundred dollar non-profit. Whenever he speaks, no matter what the subject might be, the underlying theme is the same:”God has a plan and that plan is us” .
The problem with the idea that God has this meticulously drawn out plan for your life is what happens when bad stuff occurs. If you believe this, you have two choices when said bad stuff happens: 1) God allowed these bad things to happen as a consequence or punishment for straying from the path laid out, or 2) for some reason, God planned for this bad stuff to happen. Either way, it’s not good. In 2007, I was diagnosed with colon cancer. Was that part of God’s plan? Did I, at 46, come down with a form of cancer that usually occurs in much older people because I wasn’t following God’s plan? Or does it fall under the heading of “Sometimes, shit just happens”? I don’t know, but I lean toward the latter because I’m not all that comfortable with a God who would ordain or allow something like that to happen to me.
So, if I believe that, instead of a specific plan for each individual, it’s “God has a plan and that plan is us”, what does that mean? It means that, while I believe there is a plan, it’s not one where our life is planned in meticulous detail. That’s not a life. A life is where you go out and do stuff and stuff happens to you. Sometimes, that stuff is ugly and shitty and just wrong. Other times, it’s wild and crazy and wonderful. Still others, it’s kind of dull, everyday and boring. But, it’s yours and you made it happen. I can’t imagine God going to all the trouble of putting us here and then robbing of us the experience.
Over the years, I’ve had multiple opportunities to be a part of God’s plan. Through my job, through the churches I’ve attended, through my friendship with Hugh, people have come into my life and I did whatever I could for them. Also, in those years, there have multiple times when other people have been a part of God’s plan and helped me in ways to numerous to count. We may not always see the ways God is using us or the people in our lives to affect change, healing, comfort or any of other things that are needed in this broken world. But, never forget that God does have a plan. And, that plan is us.