Updated: 21 hours ago
Too often, I find myself playing detective or psychologist. I like to psycho-analyze - I enjoy uncovering the mysteries behind how many things work - systems, societies, objects, people, etc. If I lived in the Victorian England era, I would have made a great competitor against Sherlock. Yet one of the most fascinating things that I’ve attempted to figure out and haven’t nearly nailed, is God’s plan for my life.
Call it a control-freak thing, or lack of faith thing (more convicting, but I’ll take it). But it’s part of who I am and how I operate. I like to have a handle on what’s going on, how people think and react, and how life just works. I like to know the details to things. I’m an empath naturally because of this... this can be a good trait to have, when God has control over it. God can use it in spiritual gifts like empathy, discernment, and the nurturing and encouragement of others.
In the Bible it talks all about the promises God has made to his people, ie true believers in Him. They can offer reassurance, like how nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:38-39) or that He will reward those who seek Him, praise Him, and live by His love (Hebrews 11:6, Colossians 3:23-24, Psalm 37:4).
But in all honesty, the Bible doesn’t spell out exactly what each individual‘s life is going to look like. Obviously, the bible couldn’t contain that much information. Yet, sometimes I wish it did. Honestly I wish that a lot. I probably would have a better feeling of comfort knowing ahead of time when God is going to open a specific door in my life, or when a certain event will take place.
Yet the life of a Christian wasn’t meant to be comfortable, was it?
Knowing what God has planned for you, seems like a frustrating feat. According to scripture and God’s track record, there are some things only the Father knows, not even Jesus knows them (Mark 13:32). And I guess at the end of the day, I’m honestly happy for it.
Why is that? Why does God keep these things unknown to us in the first place? Well here are a few possible reasons why...
1. We Wouldn’t Be Able to Handle It
If you think about it, like really think about it, you’re not the same person that you were last year, or five years ago, or if you are a born-again Christian, you DEFINITELY shouldn’t be the same person now as you were before you came to know Christ.
Here’s what I find remarkable about this. Our understanding of worldview, emotions, and desires are ever-changing. Since we have to live with them everyday, it may not feel like this. Or perhaps the changes are so small and incremental, you don’t see them.
These changes may be small, but they’re enough to alter the way you view and handle things. I say this to illustrate that if God were to tell us our whole life plan now, there may be hard things we are to face in the future that our present selves aren’t equipped to face, or even think about yet.
I also believe that knowing God’s full plan may lead many Christians to choose not to be Christians anymore. Because throughout your life, your faith isn’t just an on/off switch once you’ve committed to Jesus. When you choose to have faith, give it time and God will provide opportunities to deepen and mature your faith. Tell somebody God’s plan for their life who may be new to faith and they might not trust God enough yet to get them through it.
There’s also the obvious truth that we have and will always possess a fragmented view of things, because of our fallen, human, flesh/nature. So entrusting us with the knowledge of God’s plan is like looking through a broken looking glass. Even with it spelt out clearly, it’ll always be hard for us to comprehend.
In the end, it’s all for our benefit. If we knew everything He knows now, we wouldn’t trust Him. If we knew that there were hardships we would have to face, that would break us if faced alone, we wouldn’t want to face them at all. God is watching out for us and He knows the perfect time and place to reveal bits of His plan to us.
2. It’s a Big Opportunity for Deepening Faith
Not knowing the plan God has for our life in it’s fullness, offers a ripe opportunity for having our faith deepened. In this case, we have no choice but to trust and depend on God, the divine father that’s got it all in control. And God does use this all the time with believers. I think often we fail or fall short in trusting Him in the moment, but the deepening of faith might come after the event that we should have trusted God in. God is the master at using anything and everything to bring about His Will and his goodness. Even your struggle to have faith.
Not knowing the details of our life in God‘s hands is like walking blindly through a dark maze. But here’s the thing, we have a leader. Even through the valley of the shadow of death, we‘ve got a good shepherd, leading the way.
3. It Illustrates that God is in Control
In the Bible, I used to hate the analogy that described humans as sheep (Psalm 23, Mark 6:34, Ezekiel 34:30-31). Like, wow, us intellectual beings are being compared to one of the dumbest animals on earth?! PLUS they aren’t really unique, are they? They are the biggest sufferers of herd mentality, and they literally ALL look the same (only the shepherd can tell them apart).
But.. isn’t that humanity for you?
Of course to God we are more valuable to Him than sheep; He tells us how valuable we are to Him in the Bible (Matthew 10:31, John 3:16, Luke 12:6-7). But He uses this analogy to show us that we are like sheep. We are incapable of knowing or discerning our own way. We tend to follow others or the ways of the world foolishly. We are defenseless without Him. We have to rely on the good shepherd to guide us, protect us and save us. And thankfully, God offers Himself not once but three times - through Jesus, through the Holy Spirit and through God the Father.
How can we be sure that we can rely on God? In what ways can we rely on Him?
1. God Simply Teaches Us
Psalm 25:4-5 says “Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths...” Psalm 25:8-9 also says “... He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them the way.”
But how? I believe through the Holy Spirit. God reshapes and conforms our hearts to His will, when we humbly submit to Him. I also believe He uses Jesus’s words to speak to our soul. We can discover this through studying the Bible. I don’t wish to compartmentalize God, because I believe that He can work in more ways than these, but these are two very obvious ones.
A more mysterious way He might teach us is by talking directly to us. John 10:3-4 says “-his sheep follow him because they know his voice.” I think this is one of the mighty and mysterious ways God works. He might speak to one person through signs or wonders, another person through other people’s words, or maybe through dreams or times of worship, fasting or prayer. God is God after all, therefore His ways of speaking to us (and through us) are nothing short of miraculous and sometimes unexplainable.
2. God Straightens Us Out When We Trust in Him
”-in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.“ (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Often times we stumble or fall away from the path God designed for us. It’s because of our sinful, imperfect nature that we tend to fall. We weren’t meant to do this life alone; we need God to keep us on the straight and narrow.
And the path to heaven will be a straight and narrow one. As simple as it is to have faith in Jesus Christ, the world compounds distractions, temptations, contradictions, pride, lust, selfishness and backwards thinking to get us off track. I think this is where the meaning behind child-like faith comes from. We need to simplify our understanding of faith, as much as we need to simplify our self-burdened, complicated lives.
It’s not our job though to get ourselves back on track. We need to rely on God to do that for us. What we can and should do is repent, come clean, be honest with God and humble ourselves, submitting to Him. That opens the door to God helping us get on track again.
3. God’s Will and Plan is According to His Good Purpose
Philippians 2 mentions God is working in us “to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (Philippians 2:12-13).
The Lord has every intention to bring about His Goodness and Purpose. There’s nothing we could do that wouldn’t make that happen, however there’s many things we can do that will negate or disclose us from being used and included in and for His Goodness and Purpose.
Personally, I don’t wish to be discluded from that, considering everything truly good and worthwhile comes from God.
As I’ve continued to seek God and pursue a deeper understanding of His character, I’ve started to understand how my desire for knowing things isn’t sinful or wrong, when it’s in God’s hands. When I simplify my faith and my life, submit to God, make myself available to be used by Him without conditions or expectations, and just trust that He not only has a plan, but it’s going to bring about His Ultimate Goodness… The burdens I carry get a whole lot lighter.