Many weeks ago (we’re talking months…) I read a blog post made by Don Miller that was like a slap in the face. It wasn’t untrue – it was more of a harsh reality. Just to give you a taste of the mood of the post, I’ll tell you its title: Does God Have a Specific Plan for Your Life? Probably Not. How’s that for motivating?
You can read the entire article by clicking on it’s title above, but I’ll share some major points here. Basically, Don (I use his first name like we’re friends…) makes the point that, if you look at the Bible, only one person out of perhaps 200 other people actually appears to have specific God-ordained purposes for their lives. Take the sons of Jacob – Joseph obviously had a specific purpose, but Benjamin not so much. Benjamin is mentioned, but he isn’t the one God chose to become second in command in Egypt. Don doesn’t use this illustration, but I thought about the rich young man in Mark 10 – he obviously had a heart for keeping God’s law, but he also had a heart for his possessions. God didn’t have a specific plan for him, like whether he should buy white curtains or off-white curtains for his house (unless you count getting told by Jesus in front of a lot of people God’s purpose – ohhhhh, snap…). So, even Biblically, not everyone had God point out specific things He wanted for them.
So what does this mean for us? For one, it means we can stop sitting around waiting on God to give us a divine revelation about every detail of our lives. Chances are, He’s not interested in controlling our every move. As Miller said, “My friends who disagree and think God has a specific plan for everybody are mostly sitting around waiting to hear from God. Meanwhile, God’s plan for them, apparently, is to shop at Bed Bath and Beyond and quote the latest Saturday Night Live skit. Quite the plan.” Somehow I doubt God cares about whether we buy milk at Wal-Mart or Kroger (although we always buy at Kroger, because it tastes better and it’s cheaper – and I’m sure God honors the fact that we’re trying to be smart with the money He’s given us…). He’s more interested what is inside of us – our character, our relationship with Him, our salvation through Christ. He promises to take care of our small, daily needs if we focus on these bigger things (see Matthew 6:33).
Is it possible that God is going to use you for a specific purpose? Of course! Even Miller concedes that God may use someone today for a specific purpose:
Here’s how you know, based on scripture, whether God has a specific plan for your life:
1. If you are a virgin and you get pregnant anyway.
2. If your donkey talks to you.
3. If an angel wants to wrestle.
If any of this happens to you, God is definitely at work. He also wants you to see a counselor.
To me, all this means a lot. We just found out yesterday that our condo (that we’re renting) is going to to be viewed today by someone who looked at it already this past weekend. This means that they are probably interested, and may very well make an offer. Once a contract goes down on the place, we’ve agreed to move out within 30 days. SOO, it is possible that we are going to have to move very soon. Problem with that – we don’t have anywhere to go. We’re looking at houses to buy and to rent, but moving costs money that, quite honestly, is hard to come by these days in our household. So, we do a lot of praying. Not that God would make us millionaires (though we wouldn’t complain), but that He would provide every need. And I hope that we can focus on His kingdom and His righteousness, since that’s our side of the conditional promise of Matthew 6:33.
It’s a harsh reality to think that God isn’t going to show us whether we should buy or whether we should rent. It’s not exactly comforting to know that, as we go around looking at houses, that there isn’t going to be a bright light shining out of heaven, pointing to a specific property that God has picked for us (which I would then presume means that it has no major structural problem, comes with an in-ground pool, space for my daughter’s trampoline, and a guy name Johnny who happens to mow lawns AND dust and vacuum). On the other hand, it’s kind of heart-warming to think that God lets us make these kinds of decisions in our lives. It’s like He is saying, “Go on out there! Get your hands dirty! Live life, and know that if you fall down, I’m right over here ready to pick you up.” He’s like a father teaching his son to ride a bicycle – sooner or later, the father has to let go, and let his son go off on his own. God has let go of the bicycle, and we’re wobbling off through life trying to keep from falling. We turn the wheel right and left, we speed up and slow down. But God gave us the bike, and He’s given us the direction and power to ride it correctly. Where we go from there is up to us.