If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it 770 times:
“God has a purpose and plan for each of our lives.”
I heard it again a couple Sundays ago. But I believed it no more than I have for years.
I wondered, almost aloud, “Really? Is this assertion theologically sound? How am I assured of such a reality when random events seem to occur daily? And where in scripture is this actually asserted as a mantra for the believer?”
Oh, yeah, I know the Jeremiah thing and the Proverbs thing.
And, yeah, I know that “we walk by faith, not by sight,” and “His plan and answers are not necessarily our own,” and “with the Lord a thousand years is like a day.” But the notion that everything is planned by God to the Nth degree is more Calvinist than biblical.
I prefer to think that His plan is more over-arching, more tied to the eternal than to the ephemeral. He plans for a group of those who accept Him (and thank Him, I’m in that group) to continue in eternal life. But I don’t think he plans what kind of cereal I eat, who walks across the hall ahead of me, which e-mails I read, when my toe hurts, or even when I’m discouraged. Many things in this life are just arbitrary, and it is up to us to be faithful responders in every situation, not to lay all the responsibility on God as though he had every detail planned.
No, He is a more open God than that. He cares infinitely, but that doesn’t mean “everything happens for a reason.”