Stuff happens…we all say that, and we wish we didn’t have to, but it’s true. We lay out plans and work to make them happen. We pump ourselves up with all kinds of encouraging rhetoric about being masters of our fate. We think of all the permutations and implications and address each one. And then something happens, someone else makes a choice, and it all slips through our fingers like sand. Yelling and screaming often helps, as long as we get past it and don’t slip into the blame game trap. (How can you really blame people for using their God-given, precious, sacred capacity for free will?)
We talk about God having a plan for our lives, and we are most happy when we find it and walk in it. We imagine that God has done what we do, and carefully crafted our future, except that now we imagine that have the Almighty doing it for us—and who can mess that up, right? Another trap.
I think the Almighty has one single plan, and it applies equally to every human being, in fact, every living and (supposedly) non-living thing: To become fully who we are. For us humans, it’s to become fully human. “Fully human” means to use that God-given, precious, sacred capacity for free will in loving, self-giving service to the rest of creation, like what we Christians see in Jesus. “Inhuman” is to use that gift for selfish, ego-driven, others-controlling ends. In other words, in a funny sort of way, becoming who we are means letting go of who we thought we were. Control only comes through giving up control. Jesus said, “For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.”1
So, do we just drift through life, swimming aimlessly through the soup of wills, colliding, impacting and changing one another, with no real view of any end that is desirable in any way? Another trap! We do live in such a soup, but there is an end in sight. We must learn to surrender, to work toward becoming who we really are, to work toward making society a place where people are as free as possible to become who they really are, and to stand up to those who would use their free will to limit the emergence of who we all really are. We Christians call this the Kingdom of God.
1 (Matthew 16:25 NRSV, the saying is also found in Mark and Luke)