The issue of God having a specific plan for each believer is something that I have been trying to understand for a long time. Until recently, I would “agree to disagree”. I accepted that I did not have sufficient understanding to comprehend this issue and I was content to leave it at that. Then, I came across a book entitled Decision Making and the Will of God. For the first time, I found myself (I think) thinking Biblically about the nature of God’s will in my life. I did not have to “discover” what God had planned for me. I did not have to figure out what His personal will is for my life. Per Garry Friesen’s book, God’s will is clearly stated in scripture. I did not have to deal with those proverbial open or closed doors anymore.
As the saying goes, a funny thing happened on the way to church. I kept hearing what sounded like (to me, anyway) “Christian speak” type statements. Many devout believers are convinced that God has/had shown them a plan for their lives. They have “peace in their hearts”, “a clear conscience”, and scads of verses to support their contention that God had given them a particular house, led them to their spouse, children, opened the door for a job, gave them a disease and then cured them of it, etc. I’ve never experienced anything like this. Was I missing something?
This issue began to “fester” and really gnaw at me when the pastor and members of the board at our church were talking about whether or not it was “God’s will” to have a building expansion program. I asked the obvious question, “What are the criteria to determine whether or not a building program would be part of God’s specific plan for this church?” It seemed a simple enough question. However, this led to many conversations and emails with the pastor and many others in the church over the next couple of months. In the end, I became uncomfortable with the pastor and the church leadership and left to worship at another church.
So, what is my point: much as a chemist sets out to prove (or disprove) a hypothesis, I am trying to validate my belief that God gives the believer freedom to make any choice that is within His moral boundary (His law). I do not believe that God has a predetermined objective for us to discover.
A good question as been asked of me – am I in pursuit of truth? In addition, am I willing to follow the truth wherever it leads? I wish I could give a straight-up “yes!” answer. However, I think I am coming to grips with how little faith I truly have. I am confused and I can no longer swallow the nice little expressions of faith – the “Christian speak”. For example: in an Aug/Sept 2003 Focus On the Family article on Joni Eareckson and Ken Tada, Joni says, “But God has a plan. It’s no mistake that you got that bad medical report last week, that the economic downturn is affecting your retirement fund, that your children are not turning out the way you’d hoped they would or that your grandchild was born with a disability.” Certainly these are things that can draw individuals and families closer to Christ. And certainly God can use any situation for His glory. But I am not convinced that God has brought about those situations.
Well, I trust that I have provided a little perspective regarding my concern and confusion as to the will of God in the life of the believer. I welcome thoughts, opinions, and the opportunity to engage in a dialog. I look forward to posting on various books I have read, and statements that I have come across where I find myself in disagreement as to the will of God from people such as Jerry Bridges, John Piper, Josh McDowell, Ray Pritchard, and Rick Warren. So, stop back from time to time and we will see where this journey leads.