Birthdays always lend themselves to a bit of pause for the cause. Getting older initiates both a look back and a vain temptation to look forward. A reflection on what has been and what might be. Normally I give little consideration to this kind of grazing but a post on Facebook by a friend prompted a bit of reflection on the subject. On her post she quoted a piece from Oswald Chamber’s book My Utmost for His Highest; “Joy comes from seeing the complete fulfillment of the specific purpose for which I was created and born again, not from successfully doing something of my own choosing.” Then her “status” was – “Praying to find that specific purpose.” Well, that got the wheels turning.
At one time or another we’ve all heard, either directly or indirectly one of the “Four Spiritual Laws” that says, “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.” It’s law number one. The scriptures used are John 3:16 and John 101:10. Now there is little doubt in my mind that God loves me. But the wonderful plan for my life as though my life were specific to God is a bit troublesome. I’m not certain at all that Jesus had me or anyone else specific in mind when he made those statements. I prefer to think John 3:16 was directed to Nicodemus in an attempt to explain Christ’s purpose and objective as Jesus/Messiah. But note, He loves the “world” – it was not for God so loved Nicodemus (although he did.) John 10:10, directed at the disciples and the masses hearing his teaching, was a fleshing out of his role as the good shepherd to provide his flock with protection, security and new life through the Christ. Furthermore, there is little, if any, evidence in scripture that God ever has individuals generally in mind when it comes to His plan for His creation on any level other than they believe in His Son. Some will quote Jeremiah 29:11 as evidence that God has a plan for each of us, but the context is clear, it is the scattered and persecuted people of Israel that God addresses through Jeremiah not individuals. Yes, God uses select individuals (Abraham, David, Isaiah, etc) and collections of individuals (Apostles and the Church) to accomplish His purpose and objective but I’m not certain that principle can be carried down to each of us individually other than, for example, our participation in the Church.
God has a collective purpose for His people Israel as laid out in the OT and His church as outlined in the NT. And yes, individuals comprise both of those groups. However, it is care for the collective many that pushes His cosmic drama forward. Does that mean I should not inquire and desire to see how I fit within that framework? Of course not. I should. But does that mean that God will not accomplish His grand scheme if I am doing “something successfully of my own choosing?” Of course not. He will.
It may be my contention and mine alone, but it seems to me we’ve been hood winked by this idea that God has a specific plan for our lives, a specific life-mate, a specific job, a specific place to live. The reality may be God wants us to live out our lives in love and righteousness with little regard for the intricacies and high regard for our relationship to Him.
That my friend is a wonderful plan!