Sometimes people equate, “God has a plan for your life,” with, “everything that happens in your life is according to God’s plan.” I think that’s a mistake.
We see in the beginning that God made everything perfect and without sin. But when he placed that perfect sinless Adam and Eve in the garden, there was already evil loose in the world. They were tempted. They sinned. And God’s plan was immediately disrupted and thrown off-track.
The scripture says that God does not want any to perish because of sin but for all to come to repentance. And yet the scriptures also say that there are many that will perish. They will receive the wages for their sin: death, and not the eternal life God wants them to have.
God’s plans can be thwarted, upset, overturned, and bumped off-track. Our decisions and the decisions of those around us make a difference.
How “god” can God be then if his plans, his very will, is so easily overthrown?
I believe and have faith that ultimately God is good. But I also believe that my short-term view of good doesn’t necessarily equate to God’s view of good.
But if he is good, why does he allow, and sometimes cause, bad things to happen? Part of the answer is freewill; part of the answer is that we can’t fully understand God; part of the answer is we don’t understand what good really means to God; part of the answer is this life is temporal and God is eternal and his perspective is therefore different.
I’m reminded of when Jesus said, “It’s better to enter into heaven maimed than into hell whole.” And there’s the principle that it’s better for one man to suffer than for a whole nation to perish.
I realize that all of this is not an answer, that I’m just stirring the pot here, and that any philosophy or insight I might come up with doesn’t take one child out of slavery, or save one individual from abuse, or from cancer, or the grief over the untimely death of a child. Anything I can say from my couch and my easy American middle-class life will come across as hollow to anyone that truly is suffering.
But I believe in God. And I believe that God is good and has a plan for our lives. But I also believe that we don’t always understand what that means.
I believe everything happens for a reason. But I don’t believe everything happens according to plan, not even God’s plan. A glass knocked off of a counter will fall and hit the floor. It falls because gravity is at work. God established the laws of physics. But is gravity good or evil? I believe God has given us a free will. It’s a “law” he established. Just because something gets broken, is the law that caused it to break good or evil? Is God evil because he created a world where things can break?
Someone much wiser than me once said, if we could understand God, then we would be god. I’m not even close. But I believe he wants to be understood and has revealed who he is through the person of Jesus. And that’s a good thing.
“All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”