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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Understanding God's Plan

This is part four in my series on Trust. You can read the previous posts by clicking on their titles here:

Part One: Waking Up to our Need for God
Part Two: Wake Up and Lean Into God
Part Three: It is Well

Excerpt from Part 3:

"Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, it is well, it is well, it is well,with my soul."

This is the level of trust to which we are each called. It is a trust that brings great freedom in our lives. When we can truly give it all over to God, even in the middle of great pain and suffering, then we can be free to live a life of joy.

God's Promise
In order to have this kind of faith in God we must first understand God's promise for us. We must understand that our God is a God of love, a God who loved the idea of you and I so much that he created us out of love. He created us not for his own musing, but for our own good. He envisioned our lives and saw that it was good. Indeed God created us for a purpose.

There is of course much debate about the idea of a Creator. First, let me say that it really doesn't matter how you believe the earth was created. Whether there was some form of evolution, a big bang, or God was literally forming us like clay in his hands, it doesn't really matter. All that matters is that we understand He created us for a purpose.

We are not accidental beings. If we were accidents, then we would not have a purpose, which would mean that we would not strive for anything. Deep down we each know that there is a purpose to our lives and that in itself proves that we are not some accidental creation. If we just happened by chance then our lives would just happen by chance and we would live without any hope for more. Certainly there are people who don't feel like they have a purpose, they may have given up on finding their purpose in life, but I have yet to meet such a person who is not unhappy or depressed. Why is that? Because deep down they know they do have a purpose and they know they are missing out on something.

God created us out of love. He created each of us with unique gifts, talents, dreams, and desires. His love for us is so great that he will never give up on us. In fact His love is so great that he didn't give up on us already. God's plan for humanity was that we would be in union with him in the garden. That our lives would be full of joy, peace, fulfillment and creativity.

Out of love for us he gave us free-will. Our free-will allows us to make choices, both good and bad. It allows us to love or hate. Obviously God understood that we could possibly fail at this, and we have. But in his faithfulness he never turned his eyes away from us. All through salvation history we see the story of God trying to join man back to himself. He went so far as to send His Son Jesus to walk among us and die for us on the Cross. God's plan hasn't changed. He still intends for us to walk in union with him. He made us to be one with him.

That is where our true joy lies, in complete union with God. Saint Iraneaus said, "The Glory of God is man fully alive." How true this is. We are the crowning jewel of God's creation and he is pleased with all that he made us to be. Our fulfillment is glorifying to God. It is God's desire that we find fulfillment and lasting joy and peace here on earth so that ultimately we may one day be reunited with him in Heaven.

In John 10:10, Jesus tells us that he "came that they might have life and have it more abundantly." This is God's desire for us. He has not destined us for a life of gloom and despair while on earth. We are not in some waiting room just biding our time on earth. God desires us to have life to the full, that we might use those gifts, talents, and desires that he has placed within us. Then God's ultimate plan will come to pass, that we will be united with him in heaven. This is the promise we have in God. Our faith is rooted in this very promise of God's undying love for us. It is through our faith in this promise that we find the joy and lasting peace that I spoke of earlier. When we take hold of this faith and begin calling on God's promise in our lives that we can begin to trust God to a point of knowing no matter the circumstance that "it is well."

Read Part Five in this series here: "I Only Have Good in Mind for You"