We have this idea that God has "a" plan for our lives, and in our limited human understanding, we have taken that to mean that there is really only one perfect path for us through this world and that we must make exactly the right decision at every turn and about everything, including who to marry, when to have children, what to name them, what to do for work, what kind of car to drive, what neighborhood to buy a house in, which church to attend, and so on, ad infinitum.
The problem with this understanding, as we saw yesterday, is that we spend our lives paranoid that we might make a slightly wrong choice at any point in our relatively few years and thus, entirely miss out and ruin everything that God wanted to do with our life.
The bigger problem with this understanding is that it's not at all what God Himself says.
The reason we think this way about our lives is because these are the things that our culture puts value on; these are the narratives that run through our communities. When you're trying to familiarize yourself with someone else, these are the things you ask about - what do you do? who are you connected to? what do you drive? where do you live? But these are not the real things about us.
I've never heard anyone stand up at a funeral and talk about these things. No, we always talk about what kind of person someone was - what was their heart, their personality, their smile, their fun, their engagement. At our hearts, we know that these things are not our story.
But we're so convinced, still, because of culture's powerful narrative around them, that they are God's story for us. They aren't.
God's plan for us is about goodness. It's about grace. It's mercy. It's forgiveness. It's an increasing in righteousness from living by faith. It's confident assurance in our hearts. It's hope. It's joy. It's...love.
God says these are the things He plans for us. These are the things He desires for us. These are the things He's working all things together for good to give us in our lives.
There's not one place in the Scriptures that says that when the day of His coming arrives and we finally understand all that we were created to be, we will discover our true career path. There's nothing that says that when that day comes, He will reveal to us who we were really supposed to marry.
No, it says that when that day comes, we will know our heart as it was created to be. We will know the fullness of the divine image that dwells within us. We will be connected to the very root of who we are, and we will feel the full breath of the Spirit in our dust.
Paul was a tentmaker. Do we really believe that what God most wanted for Paul in his life was for him to be a tentmaker? Of course not. Jesus was a carpenter. Is that what God wanted us to know most about His Son? No. The Bible reminds us frequently that David was a shepherd boy...and then it reminds us just as frequently that his being a shepherd boy was not the culmination of God's plan for his life.
Instead, what we see is faithfulness. It's goodness. It's grace. It's mercy. It's love. It's hope. It's joy. It's generosity. It's a thousand things that are the very vibrant, amazing, loving heart of God that beats inside our own hearts.
That is God's plan for our lives.
And if we keep our eyes focused on that, I don't think we need to worry about making the "wrong" choice when we come to the next crossroads. Maybe, just maybe, there isn't a wrong choice. Maybe it doesn't matter whether you go left or you go right. In fact, I would say that overwhelmingly, it doesn't matter.
What matters is that whatever step you take next, you take in faith as you move with God.