Does God Have a Specific Plan for Your Life? Probably Not.

Donald Miller

I want to write an essay saying the statistical chance of God having a specific plan for your life is roughly 1 in 227. I’d base that statistic on scripture, because scripturally, for every one person God had a specific plan for, there were 226 He did not. Joseph was in, Benjamin was out and so on.

Okay, I haven’t actually done the math. It may be 1 in 250 or 1 in 95, but that is hardly the point. The point is we think God is going to tell us exactly what to do, but chances are, He isn’t. It’s just not a Biblical idea.

God does have a general desire for everybody, for them to be reunited with the Trinity through Christ, and for them to have food and shelter and relationships, but I don’t believe God has mapped out a plan for your every day, or even for your every year.

My friends who disagree and think God has a specific plan for everybody are mostly sitting around waiting to hear from God. Meanwhile, God’s plan for them, apparently, is to shop at Bed Bath and Beyond and quote the latest Saturday Night Live skit. Quite the plan.

I contend with this idea for a number of reasons, but the main reason is that I don’t think God is a control freak.

Imagine visiting a friends house for dinner for the first time. You sit down at the table and the father, who sits at the head of the table, tells each of the kids, and the wife for that matter, what and when to eat. Then he tells them what to wear to bed, when they will be getting up, where they will be going to college and who they will be married to. Later, you tell your friend you thought their dad might be a bit controlling. You secretly believe their family to be dysfunctional. But your friend is offended. They think it’s perfectly normal to want to please their father in everything they do. And they are right, it is appropriate to want to please ones father. The only problem is, their father is NUTS!

God, on the other hand, isn’t nuts.

If God is fathering us, He is helping us discover what is good, right, pure, and worthy to pursue. He teaches us morality and ethics, but also gave us a heart filled with desire and longing. It’s as though God sets before us a big sheet of butcher paper and hands us a box of crayons and tells us to dream.

I’ve a friend whose wife is a counselor who does this very experiment with kids she counsels. She gives them a sheet of paper and some crayons, and based on how they respond, she can tell whether or not the child has a dysfunctional relationship with their parents.

But I could be wrong. Here’s how you know, based on scripture, whether God has a specific plan for your life:

1. If you are a virgin and you get pregnant anyway.

2. If your donkey talks to you.

3. If an angel wants to wrestle.

If any of this happens to you, God is definitely at work. He also wants you to see a counselor.

And there are a few more. You get the point. If God has something specific for you, you’ll know, I promise. But if He is setting a box of crayons down in front of you (a box of crayons called life) then by all means draw. He’s taught you right from wrong, good from bad, beautiful from profane, so draw. He will be with you, proud of you, cheering you on, so draw. He loves you, so draw in the inspiration of the knowledge of His love. Draw a purple horse, a red ocean, a nine-legged dog, it doesn’t matter. Lets stop being so afraid. Lets live, and show the world what it really means to be grateful we don’t live in a dysfunctional family.

Donald Miller

Donald Miller

Donald Miller is all about story. He helps people live a better story at creatingyourlifeplan.com and grow their business at storybrand.com. Follow Don on Twitter (@donaldmiller). To read more of his posts on the Storyline Blog, click here.

  • http://blog.natejc.com Nate Chatellier

    Interesting read. But I disagree with the dinner table analogy. The author says that a father who did this, would be completely NUTS! However, Jesus actually had precisely this relationship with this father.
    In Jn 14:31, Jesus says: “I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me”. And there are multiple other occasions with Jesus says something similar (http://goo.gl/GbYbR). So, according to this analogy, God IS definitely NUTS.
    Additionally, in Acts 17:26, the bible says: “From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him…”

    In Mt 6:10, while teaching his disciples to pray, Jesus said to pray the following: “your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” So God definitely has a will (or plan) that he’s mapped out in Heaven that we may or may not carry out on earth. So, I think it’s hard to use scripture to claim that God doesn’t have a will for our lives. Having said that, it would be hard to biblically claim that God even has a plan for what color shirt I wear today. So, like everything in life, a balance must be struck without swinging the pendulum to the extreme of either side.

    In any case, I fully agree that too many people sit idle “waiting to hear God’s plan” and do nothing in the mean time. My wife and I generally live as follows:
    Pray and ask for God’s plan to be revealed. If it seems clear, then go with it. Otherwise, make the most spiritually-minded plan that we can and move forward with it. While always leaving the door open for God to tell us to head down a different path.

    Anyway, thanks for the article.

  • Steve

    Great topic and one most Christians seem to always make unwarranted assumptions about. I think a mystery exists somewhere between God’s sovereignty and man’s free will that we will never understand this side of heaven. Some how God’s plan is realized in all of it. Case in point: The line of Christ went through Bathsheba…after David committed adultery with her and murdered her husband. Bathsheba would ultimately give birth to Solomon. Somehow that was God’s plan? Could it be a terrible thing that God redeemed? Or did God come down in a vision and tell David to “go checkout the babe taking a bath next door because I need her to be Solomon’s mother.” Probably not. I do agree that most Christians sit and wait for the lighting bolt to hit when they should be moving ahead and making choices. It would make the Christian life a WHOLE lot easier if God would just send a few more lightening bolts, though. But maybe that’s why he made us with a brain, and a will…with the ability to choose.

  • Cindy

    One more thought. I’ve always visualized life as a maze puzzle. As God can see, my life can go one of many directions – indeed, some have ended up as dead ends. But I don’t believe there is one ‘right’ path. He knows that if I choose one route of an infinite pool of choices, what blessings lay in store, what trials, sacrificies and joys await. God is sovreign because he created the puzzle. He never had a specific “PLAN” for me, he has created ‘plans’. (Jeremiah 29 was written for a specific time for a specific people and we read too much into that in my opinion) And they are somewhat specialized. For example, I’m pretty sure that being an astronaut was never one of God’s plans for my life. I know this because of the total lack of interest and the total lack of opportunity in my life for astronautical activities. God is much bigger, much more creative than that. I love how Don brought it back to a physical family. I would want the same sea of opportunities for my daughter, and God loves us so much more than we can love even our own. Would I want my girl anquishing over having somehow missing my master plan for her life? Of course not. Instead, I would want her to make the most of every given opportunity, let her love shine to those around her, and be….happy.

  • Alex

    I agree that God has a plan for us, but he hasn’t exactly shown us the playbook, either.

    Honestly, I think it’s very simple. One undeniable fact is that God put us on this planet with “Free Will.” He intended for us to live out our lives as we saw fit. I don’t think he made each of us saying, “You will do this, and you will be this.” He made us all unique, set us on this planet, and stood back to watch. We stumble, we falter, we learn, and we keep going.

    Everything that we do isn’t going to fit perfectly into God’s plan. If it did, He wouldn’t have ravaged the planet with a flood. Admittedly, He had a plan for Noah and those on board, but still.

    I believe that me living me life how I choose, more or less, fits into God’s plan. Now, if a donkey talks to me anytime soon and tells me to change, I’ll reconsider my life…or go to the nearest psych ward. But I cannot, and will not, sit around waiting for a sign to indicate what to do with my life. My life, living it how I see fit…that is His plan for me. If I’m wrong, I’ll be judged accordingly when the time comes.

  • http://www.ecmalaska.com Tom Feliciano

    There are many passages of scripture that indicate we were all created with a purpose. The most basic one is to Love one another which can be very difficult (relationships are very difficult most of the time). The only thing we’re taking to heaven with us are our relationships. Your talent will tell you what God wants you to do. I discovered early in my life that singing wasn’t something God wanted me to do!
    Our relationship with Jesus and the depth of it is your first priority. We all need to learn to hear God speak to us and that takes time. We need to spend time in the word, asking the Holy Spirit to give us its true meaning. I’ve gotten in a lot of trouble with Pastors by asking 2 questions. One “how much time do you spend alone with Jesus every week?” Two “on a scale of one to ten how well do you know Jesus?”
    If you want to know someone you must spend time with them. In my experience most Prayers are about asking God to do something for you! Try asking God what you can do for him, then shut up and listen.

  • Gerray West

    I love this post! Ever since I was a child I always had a problem with the “specific plan” theory! And since I’m a pastor’s kid, that was a problem…HAHA! Most of my ultra conserv friends still think this way, and therefore have really no sense of decision making on their own…everything must be submitted to an elder, scripture, and/or prayer. While I don’t disagree with asking God for direction, clarity, etc, I don’t ask Him every day what I should do that day! I pretty much know…what I do TRUST Him for is the ability to make clear, wise decisions when uknowns pop into the equation. Etc, etc…

    • dplayer

      Gerray,
      You are missing the point. I love the blog post and agree with Don about a specific plan. However, we should certainly ask God and seek counsel for decisions–each day, even each moment! Practicing His presence. I wake and ask Him what I should do, who He is leading me to love and pursue each day. I love conversing and listening to God, following up with scripture, and seeking counsel with decisions. But I am very free to live and make choices without stress that I may be making the wrong ones. This comes from intimacy with God, the leadership of the Spirit, and good community

  • http://www.ericamcneal.com Erica McNeal

    I LOVE this Donald! I have often told people the same thing. As a 3x cancer survivor, I’ve been told too many times to count, “This is just part of God’s plan for your life!” It drives me nuts!! And, I have finally become bold enough to say, “I agree… eternity is going to be awesome!”

    If God planned or purposed for my cancer from the beginning of time, that means He is really just a puppet-master forcing me to live out a specific play… I have no choice! That’s not the God I know, love, and serve! However, I do believe God has allowed this to happen in my life because we live in an imperfect world, where imperfect things happen due to the consequences of the decisions made by Adam and Eve.

    Yet, when I continue to trust God when bad things happen, He uses what we have been through to build rapport and relationships with others… and really, isn’t that the point – relationships?

    • Colleen

      Thank you for posting this, especially that last paragraph, something I needed today.

    • Don

      Really well said!

  • http://tammyhelfrich.com Tammy Helfrich

    Needed to hear this today! Thanks, Don!

  • Rolly

    This scripture pretty much tells us that God has a plan for each of us.

    Jeremiah 29:11

    New International Version – UK (NIVUK)

    11 For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

    Noted that the article didn’t actually refer to any scripture just referred generally to stories from the Bible and drew conclusions that sort of sound right.

    • Paul

      Jeremiah 29:11 is probably the Scripture verse that is most used out of context. in fact, i dont think i have EVER heard it used correctly since ive learned the surround context of the entire chapter/theme of the book. the over-all message from God is Captivity in Babylon. sure He knows the plans, and wanted Israel to be ok, but if people want to fling this verse around like its their banner, then they really need to take the 70 years of bondage in Babylon as well. i dont see anyone claiming the promise of Jeremiah 29:1, Jeremiah 29:10, Jeremiah 29:14.

      • dplayer

        Thank you Paul. All scripture is absolutely God-breathed, but it does have context! This scripture is badly misunderstood by many well-meaning people. His plan is absolutely redemption and restoration of his people, but not every detail in how we get there! Praise God for this freedom!

      • Micheal

        I take issue with such a thought process not only because it can lead to disaster but also because there has been misrepresentation and skimpy Biblical evidence given.

        Concerning the prior, God says in Ephesians 2:10 that he has saved us unto the good works he has PLANNED IN ADVANCE for us to do. Now that sounds pretty exact. He also says in James 4 that we are not to worry about tomorrow but instead wait on the Lord and follow his will for that day. Again pointing to a specifc plan even daily! A familiar verse in Proverbs also states that man makes his plans, but the Lord orders his steps. In other words, we can spend all day dreaming about those 9 legged dogs and purple horses but when pen meets paper, the master’s hand should be guiding us so instead we make a masterpiece. Man’s plans=death God’s equal life, as is said in yet another familiar proverb ([paraphrased]“there is a way that seems right to man but in the end it leads to death”).

        That said, let’s move on to the misrepresentation and lack of Biblical support shall we? First of all concerning the misrepresentation, those who assume devine planning and then sit around aren’t even following their own advice. They are waiting to hear from God but not listening for his voice. No one will hear God’s still small voice when they aren’t listening! Furthermore, thetr are MANY Christians (including my 15 year-old self) who believe in God’s plan for our every day and are actively listening and worshipping while we wait in obedience. About the lack of Biblical evidence…well, to be plain, there was a quick mention of something about joseph and Benjamin and nothing significant more. It speaks for itself really.

        I didn’t mean any disrespect or condescension in any of my words. Only am exhortation to really get what you say strictly from God’s Holy Word and not from your own thoughts which are not reliable (no human has independently reliable thoughts). Thanks and please reply if you read this!!!:D

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  • https://twitter.com/jacobrogers07 Jacob

    I love the practical working out of the idea that God gives us desires, opportunities, and talents, and then he tells us to go out into the world, live our lives enjoying him and helping other people enjoy him. God does not give us the Urim and Thummim (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urim_and_Thummim) anymore and rarely does he fully disclose his plan for the next 10 years, 5 years, year, or even 30 minutes of our lives. He does tell us, however, that the Lord directs the steps of the Godly and delights in their lives (Ps. 37:23). He says that if we delight in him, he will give us the desires of our hearts (Ps. 37:4). He also says that if we trust him and seek to obey him in all we do he will guide our path (Prov. 3:5-6). Paul tells the Philippians that they should work out their salvation with awe and reverence, BECAUSE God is the one giving them desires and motivation to do good works.
    So, the Bible teaches a both/and. We go and do the things that God has given us desires and opportunities to do, because it is God who has designed us with those desires and given us those opportunities by his plan. We don’t sit and wait for writing on the wall to tell us to be warm and inviting to the middle-age single lady in the next apartment. We don’t need new revelation from God to tell us that we should be sharing the good news of Jesus with her as we have opportunity. We can be confident that God has brought her into our lives, by his plan, so that we can share the love of Christ with her. We also know that if we are unfaithful in those things, if we are not loving others, the love of God is not in us, because God is Love (1 Jn 4:7-8).

    • http://www.angeladmeyer.com Angela D. Meyer

      Well put Jacob. We have the Word of God that directs us in the general plan for man – to love and serve him. And why has He given us his Holy Spirit to lead and guide(John has a lot on this) us if we are just supposed to ignore Him and do our own thing? In James he promises to give us wisdom when we need it. And sometimes that includes in what we may consider “little” stuff. And if we are seeking God with all our heart, His desires become our desires. So if we are walking close to Him, seeking His wisdom and relying on the Holy Spirit, I think we will walk(although not perfectly) in His will. As for the Specific Will of God for our lives, that is a bit more nebulous. If we are asking Him to use us, He is likely to take us up on that and give us a specific task. And sometimes he may appear in the modern day equivalent of a burning bush to give us something to do we never dreamed of or thought of. If He does that, we better pay attention. And sometimes, He does just give us a box of crayons and just says “choose”. The most important choice we can make, whatever the direction of our lives is to serve and honor Him.

  • DP Roberts

    I think the somewhat bigger question is “If you believe that God has a specific plan for your life, how would you know if you’re following it?” Most people would respond that they “feel” called, but feelings can come from anywhere. I really feel like having a bagel, does that mean God is calling me to have a bagel? If I really feel like being a taxidermist, does that mean it’s God’s calling for me? This feeling is often described as a “peacefulness” or a “calmness”, or something along those lines. I feel peaceful and calm when lying in a hammock – does that mean I should lie in a hammock all day? Again, if you look at the Bible, most people whom we would describe as “doing God’s work” rarely experienced those feelings- they seem more likely to be tearing their hair out most of the time.

    It’s one of the ironies of Christian faith that most Christians look down on non-Christians for “doing what feels good” instead of doing what’s right, and yet when they are forced to be more specific than the general principles of scripture, they do what feels good too.

  • Brian

    What about Psalm 139:16?

  • Jon

    Don,
    That excites me and terrifies me all at once. I’m 40 and still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up. In one sense that makes me think I shouldn’t worry too much about it. But, its really hard to live that way.
    Jon

  • Aaron Holmes

    What you shared are ideas my wife and I are both familiar with, but really appreciated the way you articulated it. We also really needed to hear what you had to say, again, at this particular time.

    We have come out of a huge season of healing and growing, and feel we are on the cusp of doing some really cool stuff with God that we are really passionate about. This weekend was actually a huge stepping stone to choosing some direction and being really excited about the opportunities opening up to move with God. This blog really helped confirm what God has already been stirring in our hearts and encourages us to keep pursuing Him.

    Thank you for what you do Donald and living out the calling of who you were made to be. My wife and I are rooting for ya!

    Blessings,
    Aaron

  • Lesley

    Don, I agree. We have a responsibility and must, of our own free-will and volition, do something with what we have been given. That said, I mapped out my own life years before I attended Storyline and did the exercise there. I find it hard to look back at my mapped life and not see God’s divine hand all over it—even through the incredibly painful subplots—or even when God seemed very distant. Honestly, I do find it hard to reconcile that God’s plan was for my dad to get cancer or for me to be without a family. I simply don’t understand. But I do know that I choose to trust God’s sovereignty and goodness in all circumstances. I also choose to reconcile myself with the fact that I am not omnipotent or an independent agent with complete autonomy. I don’t think I get full license to write the entire story myself. I am under authority and exist in community and relationship to God and others. They get to write into my life too. I can only think of 2x in my 41 years where I believe God gave me very specific, detailed direction—the rest has just been based on wisdom gained from scripture, consulting trusted counselors, my faith, and a good dose of personal freedom to get up off my duff and do something. I look at my life in its totality and despite my own numerous mistakes and good decisions I see God’s presence all over it. Quite honestly, I look at what you’ve shared of your life and can’t help think the same of yours. Perhaps God uses big beautiful pen strokes to frame a story we could have never imagined or created on our own and we get to spend our lives picking up our own pen to fill in the spaces in between. That, to me, is a story worth living — beauty, pain and all.

  • Park

    Great post…if God has a SPECIFIC plan for your life (spouse, house, job, city, vocation, etc) then just one person who doesn’t fulfill His plan sets off a Butterfly Effect of negativity so large, so powerful, that after all the generations since Christ NONE of us could statistically fulfill that plan. Our very person’s are not likely to fulfill his plan because none of us would statistically have been here…

    Anyway, he gave us that box of colors to glorify Him, and to follow His son, and to be an example to others so that they might follow Him as well. The rest, as once said (Eisnstein) “is just details”

  • Thomas Freitag

    Thanks, Donald; I needed this one.

  • Cara

    This is one of the best posts I’ve read in a long time. I laughed so loud my husband looked at me funny :) Thanks for summing up what it took YEARS for me to figure out….but gracious, the pressure to be perfect finally left once I realized it! :)

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  • Curtis

    Thank you for this, Don. This is one of the most important articles I’ve ever read. my reality just expanded and got more free. For your books, and I’ve read all the bestsellers, this is my favorite piece of yours. Do I think God wants us to live within His laws and by His Spirit? Yes. But His Spirit has love and creativity. This is very important to me as a writer and filmmaker. Example: if everything is to be exactly directed by God, where does that leave us? That means that the sentence you are reading right now needs to be Holy Scripture if I am following God. Plus, I think many people blame God for their lack of effort and for their lives. On the other hand, I think God ~does~ plan certain things in all of our lives. It’s not that He doesn’t care–in Christ He has created new hearts in us that are good and capable of free will. creativity and love.

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    • Jeff R

      Humorous and cute are a couple of words used to describe this post. Last time I checked, those did not necessarily indicate good or bad theology. At least one other responder (I got tired half-way down) mentioned that this post doesn’t really bother much – which is to say, at all – with any scripture to support his position. That also, does not mean it is either good or bad theology. I won’t be quoting any either, just an observation from my own thinking. I believe that the mistake most people have about the “plan” or “will” of God concept is that we view it as something static and restrictive. That comes from a hyper-Calvinist view of the God, suggesting that if He is not in absolute manipulative control of every atom at all times in the entire universe, He is not truly sovereign. This is, I believe, is very LOW view of sovereignty, suggesting that God can only bring about His desired ends if He takes total control of every intervening step. I believe God’s TRUE sovereignty lies in His being able to give all creatures choice and control over the little details of everyday – including my “plans” for my life – and STILL bring about His perfect will at the end of the story. He does not sit in heaven and say, “Do this! Nope, not that way! Do that!” Rather, He says, “Do what you will – it won’t make any difference in the end.” Does He have an ideal plan for us? Probably – in the sense that He knows certain paths through life will bring us less pain and struggle if we are willing to follow them. Does that mean we have to intuit and then follow every nuance of His “thoughts toward us” or we will miss the mark? Certainly not! A nudge back onto the path when we stray works just as well – and is much less manipulative! And when I color outside the lines – to use the author’s analogy – Daddy may be disappointed in the “quality” of the finished product, but still loves the artist. Like the prodigal in the Gentile pig pen, my son came to His spiritual senses in federal prison. Was that God’s “perfect plan” for Him? I doubt it. But it was the way it happened – and I am much happier that it happened this way then if it had never happened at all. Now departed Bible teacher Judson Cornwall said it this way: “God will bring us to Himself the easiest way we are willing to come – no matter how hard that turns out to be!” Thanks for letting me share….

  • http://www.seanpritzkau.com Sean Pritzkau

    interesting post, Don.

    Although its clear that one could argue either way on this, I think its important to put some more emphasis on the word ‘specific’. Specific plans are very robotic. I’d have to agree, not quite robotic.

    But God does have a VERY specific plan mapped from beginning to end: For all things to be found in himself.. the redemption of creation.

    And in that we each find God’s plan for us.. which is totally up to us to follow.

    Great post. Easy to misread.

    • http://www.seanpritzkau.com Sean Pritzkau

      ** “I’d have to agree, not quite God”

  • Colby

    For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

    -Ephesians 2:10

  • http://www.gunternation.com Bill

    I think what Don is saying here is that God (usually) doesn’t dictate plans to us. Instead, we have the amazing privilege of partnering with him. Do I live here or there? Do I take this job or that one? These decisions are often left up to us and going one way or the other doesn’t mess up any master plan. The question is how you will live out Kingdom principles where you are. We are salt and light and the Kingdom moves with us.

  • Mary Jane

    I embraced this concept early in my twenties after trying to find the very fine line of (deep voice here) “GOD’S WILL”. The main example I looked at was Adam and Eve in the garden. He gave then the whole place to explore and be but just instructed them to not do just one thing (eat) from just one plant. He gave then FREEDOM to roam and explore and pursue their hearts’ desire.

    He gives us the guidelines on how to live, knowing what’s good for us based on how he made us. You’re right, sometimes he is very specific but otherwise we are free to explore and pursue based on the things he has already set in our hearts, and develop the gifts he has given us, all that He made unique in us. Freedom is the key.

  • Tricia L

    Hi Don,

    I’m a little discouraged when your tone subtly suggests ‘do do do.’ It’s like the new American Christian idol. For some it truly is idolatry because being who they are is impossible — they feel a passion but inadequate, driven but damaged and resolute but overwhelmed. So fill it with [come on, let's call it what it is:] works. We’ll never get life right and feel it deep in our being we are what we’re meant to be until our hidden places get Rapha-ed [Jehovah Rapha]. All the stuff we keep doing is wonderful and good. But we shrink along side them unless we know the deep ‘sorry’ to ourselves and God for what’s gone down in our deepest parts. We first need to lay among the dumpsters and let God embrace us there over and over until we know what it’s like to be mended and then can ‘be’ what we ‘do.’

    We’re so broken, God. Sorry we fill our wounds with works. Heal our lives. Make us to partner with you in that so ‘Then…’Psalm 51:13. If we don’t get THIS then what’s the point?

    Take care my friend, Trish

  • http://blog.testoftimedesign.com Justin Brady

    Joshua knocking down giant city walls was statistically impossible.
    Joseph raining over Egypt after being thrown in a well to die was statistically impossible.
    David killing a giant with a perfectly placed stone that fit right between armor seams was statistically impossible.

    What you seem to be taking a stand against is lazy “Christianity,” and let’s be clear, it’s not even real Christianity. The Bible serves as a guide for our lives, and it has plenty examples of God’s specific plan for our life, although, our free will enables us to blow that plan off.

    If we are truly intent on following God, however, I believe there is only one plan — God’s prefect plan. No matter how bad we screw up, God can always put that plan back on track.

    Before Joshua fought against the Amorite armies God told him they would be delivered into his hand. (sounds mighty specific), but here is the key, Joshua demonstrates the difference between people who are “sitting around waiting to hear from God” and those who act on his specific plan.

    Joshua, travels all night to take the Amorite armies by surprise. (Joshua 10:9) What’s the point? Didn’t God already tell him he would win? Joshua understood, that God wants us to do our part. God wants to act. God will not work in our lives without us stepping out first. This strengthens our faith, and that is what God intends.

    Does God have a specific plan for your life? Yes, most certainly, but the Bible shows us time and time again, God wants you to step out of faith for that plan to work.

    To site my original examples:
    Joshua knocking down giant city walls was statistically impossible. (but he did want God said, no matter how crazy)
    Joseph raining over Egypt after being thrown in a well to die was statistically impossible. (but he cried out to God and kept pursuing new opportunity and refused to let his sorrow control him)
    David killing a giant with a perfectly placed stone that fit right between armor seams was statistically impossible. (but he had to walk himself out there)

  • Heart Broken

    God does have a plan for each of us. I couldn’t disagree more and I believe that many new believers may take this blog very wrong. Here is my response to this blog…http://whenlifeshowsup.blogspot.com/

  • dplayer

    Let me give a practical example and tell me your thoughts: I have a beautiful, wonderful bride of 9 years as of last week. I love her with all of me and am grateful to God for her every day. Having said this, I fully believe that I could have married one of a few other girls in my life in the few years prior to meeting my wife, and God would have blessed that uniquely, but ll the same. I don’t believe it would have been a wrong decision, or against His plan for my life. So some details of my life would have looked differently, but I would still be His, living a life to bring glory to His name! Any replies to this? I’m anxious to hear!

  • Lori K.

    I agree with this post. I have always thought that if I ever wanted to know God’s plan for me, all I needed to do was look around and see what and who was in my life. I had a husband, 3 children, a church family, a neighborhood, a job, etc. Obviously, it was God’s specific plan for me to serve and build relationships with the people He had placed on my path, and to take advantage of opportunities that presented themselves. When I was young, I wanted to be a missionary, and then I realized that I already was a missionary right where I was. I didn’t have to go out and find a specific plan, I already had one: to live as Jesus would right where I was. I know that is pretty simplistic, but that has always been my definition of God’s specific plan for each of us.

  • David

    I’m super down with this concept. I like it because it helps Christians to just get out there and live!

    The only thing I would add is this: I do believe that God does know exactly what we should do. He knows what all the right and wrong decisions are. Not just right and wrong, but also good, better and best. Imagine if Paul McCartney had never met Ringo, John, and George? I’m sure he would’ve been successful anywhere he went, but I believe that in whatever way God calls people, that he called those four guys together to write amazing music. (I’m not at all saying that their life choices are the best to follow or are at all rooted in Christianity). Paul could have written good or great songs with anyone, but that specific four piece wrote groundbreaking amazing music. Does God have a specific calling on everyones life? I think so. Does that mean that if we screw up that God can still use us? I think so! King David did murder Uriah. However, that sinful act in no way removed God’s calling on David’s life. There were severe consequences though. David’s family was really messed up! Did David live out God’s specific call? Yes. Did God have to go with plan B a few times? Yes. God does have a specific call on everyones life, but it is in no way defeated by sin or any stupid decisions on our part.

  • http://www.BTylerEllis.com B Tyler Ellis

    I haven’t read all the comments, but in case no one has mentioned it, there is a book on the subject for those interested in further study. It’s called ‘Decision Making and the Will of God: A Biblical Alternative to the Traditional View’ by Garry Friesen. Here’s the Amazon link:

    http://www.amazon.com/Decision-Making-Will-God-Alternative/dp/1590522052/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1342622309&sr=8-1&keywords=decision+making+and+the+will+of+god

  • Mike

    Don,
    I totally agree ! ! ! Thanks for all your practical writings.

  • tina

    sorry about your friends “sitting around…”
    God having a plan doesn’t necessarilly result in his kids sitting around, waiting.
    you “don’t believe God has mapped out a plan for your every day.” what about this girl? is she the exception?
    http://bstrait.wordpress.com/2012/07/22/a-miracle-inside-the-the-aurora-shooting-one-victims-story/

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  • http://www.talenanan.blogspot.com Talena

    This is an question I’ve been processing through for several years now, I was slowly working my way towards this conclusion, but I believe my paradigm just shifted completely. Thank you. :-)

  • deborah

    only ONE in 227?

    allright.

    maybe this one was the only one who used to pray.

  • Pingback: Sunday’s Message: “God Has A Wonderful Plan For Your Life.” Does he, really? | First Christian Church of Newport

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  • ragnathebloodedge

    well then i’ve seen none of that.
    God must really be pissed with me. Oh wait he finds his own creation us to be a serious waste of time.

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