One of the biggest cliches in the church today has provided legions of people with untold comfort and consolation: “God has a wonderful plan for your life.”
This is a good cliche, but when truth becomes captive to a cliche, it is time to hack our way through the underbrush of presumption. Here comes the whack hack… Thee is no plan. God didn’t give us a plan, but a purpose; not a map, but a mission; not a blueprint for tracing, but a blue sky for exploring. God’s plan is for us to spend our lives doing whatever unlocks our teat ducks, makes our throats deep with song, keeps the gales of laughter surging in our souls, and turns our feet to dancing.
If you can answer the question for your life, based on your reading of Bible, go ahead and plan. The verb form of the word ‘plan’ means “decide on and arrange in advance.”
If you can’t answer to question, ‘What next?’, then enjoy your vocation as a partner in providence. Nothing happens as planned. Or in the words of an ancient sage, “The mind of man plans his ways, but the Lord directs his steps.” So, prepare, prophesy, hold on to your seat, and play to your strengths as you delight in God.
God did not create us to live out a “life plan” or a “master plan.” There is no one plan with definite specifics. God has made us with special gifts and blessings, with the expectation that we enjoy using them in God’s mission in the world, the “reign of God.” Or as Augustine put it in such memorable form, “Love God, and do what you will.”
When we kiss someone, we don’t left brain it; we right brain a kiss. We don’t analyze a kiss before we do it, or plan it out according to some rule of thumb. We just make it up as we go along, following the signs, signals, and feedback loops of the one we are kissing. We “kiss” life the same way.
At certain times in our lives, the journey will be more Canterbury Tales than Pilgrim’s Progress, but if we don;t know where God is calling us to go, we might end up someplace else. And where God is calling us to go is always and everywhere towards the Christ who is always anywhere and everywhere. The course of our lives is charted by the coordinates of Christ, and as any navigator will tell you about the headings of a course, the coordinates must be checked consistently – at least hourly. We don’t need a map (a plan for our lives) when Jsus is our GPS (God Positioning System).
Just as there is no requirement that a river flow a certain course to be true to its source – a true course, whatever its path, is simply one that flows to the sea – – – so, too, has God set us free to flow, to play, to take pleasure in our relationship with God, and to glorify and enjoy God. That freedom allows us to take risks and enjoy the journey.
More next time…