If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a million times:
God has a wonderful plan for your life.
Tell this to a grieving mother standing beside a gaping grave dug for her child. Tell it to a man who can’t keep the voices away, who longs to be normal but can’t will his mind to function properly. Tell it to a woman who was raped. Tell it to a child while he is being cut into pieces and suctioned from his mother’s womb.
I understand the sentiment behind what we are saying when we use this phrase. But, my friends, look around you. A great many people live lives full of sorrow, tragedy, horror, pain, and abuse.
Where is God in all this? the seeker will ask. What does God have to do with the pain and the sorrow in this world?
He sees, He cares, He knows, and, yes, His will reigns supreme. This world is broken. We are broken people. God told us this would be so. He never promised a wonderful life. In fact, He promised hardship. Jesus said the poor will be blessed. But, He didn’t say He would end poverty. He said those who mourn will be comforted. But, He never promised that mourning wouldn’t be part of our lives.
Life is hard, even when you’re a Christian. Even when you try to love God with all your heart, bad things will happen. Terrible things will come. And, this is the danger in telling each other God has a wonderful plan for your life. Because there are just too many moments and hours and days and weeks that don’t feel like a wonderful plan. They feel like an awful plan. They feel like a devastating plan. And, in those moments, the wonderful life idea just rings hollow. It makes us mad at God. It makes us resent Him and it leads us to believe that He was lying when He said, I have a wonderful plan for your life.
Only He never said that. We have confused something well-meaning Christians have repeated millions of times with something that God actually promised. Yes, someone has been lying to you, but it’s not God.
Here’s the truth of the matter: If you are a Christian, God has a wonderful plan for your eternity. Jesus promised that He is getting some pretty amazing (dare I say wonderful) stuff ready for you in Heaven. And, He is coming back to Earth to do a whole new wonderful thing someday.
God has a plan for your life on earth, too. But, it’s not for a 100% wonderful existence. That was the garden of Eden. Times have changed. Our lives on earth will be trying, difficult, sometimes tragic, sometimes almost unbearable, often sprinkled with lots of great times, truly amazing and awe-inspiring experiences, and love. And all of these things, good and bad, bring glory to God, can help us know Him more, can bring us to our knees, can take us sailing to heights we’ve never known before. The human existence is a roller coaster of fear, doubt, happiness, pain, fun, beauty, anger, grace, mercy, anguish, and brokenness. God gives wonderful moments. But, this life isn’t always wonderful.
Learn to be okay with that. Learn that God does what He does for reasons you can’t always see or understand. Learn to believe that God is good, even when the un-wonderful of life creeps in.
This life is only one stitch in the infinite and intricate fabric of eternity. There is so much wonderful waiting for us in that forever. Until then, God loves you, and He has a plan for your life. Whatever it is, don’t lose faith when wonderful seems miles away. Even when the circumstances of life aren’t wonderful, our God still is.