I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine about God’s plan and knowing God’s will for your life. We were going back and forth about career decisions and trying to help each other make sense of the frustrations we are experiencing in our lives. She made several recommendations to me along the lines of “maybe God’s trying to tell you something”, to which I responded “I’m sorry this isn’t going to sound Christian, but I’m tired of hearing that. I’ve gone in every direction I think God’s leading me and every time the ‘door God opens’ gets closed. I feel like God’s telling me to go and stay all at the same time and I’m tired of it.”
Have have heard these phrases before?
“Maybe God’s leading you in a different direction”
“Well, maybe it’s not what God wants for you”
“God will open a door for you”
“If its Gods will it will happen”
“God’s trying to tell you to do something else”
It’s in moments like these that life would be so much easier if you were an Atheist. At least you wouldn’t get home at the end of the day and bang your head against the wall yelling “What do you want me to do God?” You don’t want to question your faith or even the existence of God, but how do you respond when you feel like God’s leading you in circles? One day it feels like God’s telling you “I have a plan for you, it’s time to move on” then when you head in the direction you believe God is leading you it quickly becomes clear that door is closed too. I kind of imagine the whole thing like God telling Abram to leave Ur to a “Land I will show you”. As Abraham gets outside the city gate he looks down at the map and the conversation goes a little like this:
Abram: “okay God, the yard sale went well, the house is sold, we’re all packed, now which direction.”
God: “Just start walking”
Abram: “I get that, but I kind of need a general direction to get started. How about east?”
God: “No, East isn’t what I had in mind”
Abram: “No problem, how about south?”
God: “Sorry, South is no good”
Abram: “Okay, then we’ll go North”
Abram: “Fine, West it is”
God: “Yeah, no again”
They proceed like this for a while going in every direction in the map before Abram gives up and says “Fine, you don’t want me to stay here, but you don’t want me to go anywhere else. So what do I do?” To which God replies “Oh ye of little faith”.
There are many individuals who get uncomfortable by people who bring these thoughts up. The problem is that Christianity isn’t easy and it’s definitely not as simple as most people would like it to be. I appreciate the people who can respond to every one of life’s trials with “It’s God’s will”. Good for them. But what happens when you get to a point where you want to argue with God and say “What the heck?” For some reason we’ve been taught that’s wrong. Don’t question God’s plan for you. But what about this…
When we say “God doesn’t talk to people the way he did in the bible anymore” people respond with “He does, but maybe you’re not listening”. BUT, when someone does come out and say “God told me this” we line them up with the nuts and quacks.
When people say “Trust God”, how about the times with Abraham, Moses, David, Jonah, and Job all argued or negotiated with God? They tried to change his mind.
Then there’s the infinitely more complex question which is, if God is omniscient and omnipresent to whom there is no beginning or end to time itself, knowing the future and “the plans he has for you” doesn’t that inherently take away our free will to make choices and doesn’t it put God in a box where He can’t change his own mind?
What frustrates me the most are the people who don’t want to admit that they are feelings like this. When you bring up a conversation like this they get uncomfortable and quickly want to change the subject. Or they give some pat response like “I’m praying for you”. The whole crying, screaming, yelling, out to God thing is not good “faith” to them. My response is simply, go read the book of Psalms. Even Christ yelled out “My God, Why have You forsaken me?”
It’s okay to yell back at God. It doesn’t mean you love him any less.
But what do you do with your doubt? That’s what really matters. Do you take it and turn it into a reason to search for your connection with God, to understand Him better, and to seek Him out? Or do you you use it as your excuse to give up, check-out, and walk away. Then where does that leave you?