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James on Trial

Help Understanding Hardships

God Has A Plan

Written By: Ray - Aug• 31•09

What does God really want from me?

I have a very positive view of humanity. Not that I believe that everyone is a wonderful individual. What I believe is that, basically, if each person on earth had an absolute understanding of what God wants from them, they would try (and fail) to accomplish it. Written in those terms it sounds like GOD is to be blamed for all that is wrong in the world. Not so fast there Nelly! The issue is not whether or not God set unattainable goals for us – He has not.

A lot of people speak about things that happen “by coincidence.” Personally, I do not accept anything as being coincidental. Instead, I believe that it is God’s providence that brings seemingly unrelated events into our experience.

Inherent in my understanding of God is that He has a plan. The plan is not always clear to us but that does not mean that there is no plan. God’s plan is intended for mankind in general, for nations, communities, churches but it also includes His specific plan for individuals – even a plan for me. And if I understood it better, I would please God more.

I am not one to “cherry-pick” Scripture verses just to prove a point. Unless a verse has the same meaning in context of the chapter in which it is written – and in context of the entire Bible – I am leery of using it as a “proof text.” But Job (the character in the Bible Book that is named after him) recognized that God did have a plan for him and acknowledged that God’s plans cannot be thwarted (Job 42:2). The prophet Micah (also in the Bible) stated that the reason people go astray is that they do not understand God’s thoughts and plans (Micah 4:12). The prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 29:11) said that God’s plans were to give us HOPE and a FUTURE.

One place where God’s plan for Israel is recorded is in the book of Hosea. Although some theologians refuse to accept a secondary application to a promise or prophecy when it is clearly meant for Israel, I believe that this Scripture is significant. I do not try to claim every (positive) prophecy or promise, but I believe that God sometimes says (in effect), “See what I had in mind for Israel? I have the same thing in mind for all of my children.” That is what I believe He is saying to US in the Book of Hosea.

Although the first 13 chapters of Hosea provide a litany of Israel’s sins (and the consequences if they did not repent), in chapter 14 God offered them HOPE. Not only could the nation (& each of us) be reconciled to God, He promised that if they (and we) would repent, they/we would not only become fruitful but also, explosive in growth!

God intends for me not just to survive in my environment, He has planned for me to thrive in it. His plan is to give us hope and a future.

If God’s plan for each of us is to give us hope, why do we have to endure such trials, hardships and pain. And why does He allow us to get into such despair? Well, the short answer is that God’s plan is that He wants us to experience a life of righteousness (James 1:20). This is the cornerstone of what the Book of James is all about.

See a related post here.

I wrote an article on a similar thought on my Chief Shepherd site: God’s Plans For Us.

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