Trusting in God’s Plan: Perspectives From a Naturalist and Theist.
There are so many times when we feel like we can’t trust in God’s plan. But the truth of the matter is when we aren’t trusting in God’s plan and controlling situations for ourselves – things start to go terribly awry.
This is because humans without the presence of the Holy Spirit given to us by God can be driven by ego. And an ego without the holy spirit or super ego is addicted to the sensation of control – the sensation of hedonistic pleasure which seeks to dominate and gain a sense of entitlement over our surroundings. Without the holy spirit, people become mere objects for us to gain access to and feed the hungry yearning inside of our soul. When our ego is in control we’re not trusting in Gods plan for our lives; we’re not practicing radical acceptance. We’re clinging, desperately hoping and manipulating the plans he has created for us.
Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and to hope.”
So many times, our intentions for our lives can be thwarted by alternate plans, twists and turns. There are moments when life happens and we are left feeling kicked out in the cold and betrayed. Yet, when these ‘tower’ moments come toppling down in our lives there is something important to keep in mind – on a subconscious level, the level which connects to your higher power, this is an event you’re meant to overcome.
How is this possible? “I know that God does not want my mother to get cancer or my child to die,” one might think.
And in all honesty, God doesn’t want those things for you. But life is ultimately left up to deterministic probability and chance – biological chance that God has no control over. Yet, that does not mean God is not leading you and guiding you for a higher purpose.
For instance, when understanding the scientific nature of probability, through playing a game of dice, the assumption that there are only two outcomes (heads and tails) introduces the idea that probabilistic representations are models, simplifying and idealizing a
more complex reality. Or
“Chaos” theory which characterizes nonlinear systems such
as global atmospheric pressure. Such systems are
extremely sensitive to their initial conditions. They
are deterministic in the sense that if one knew their
governing equations and initial state precisely, their
entire future behavior would be predictable.
Human behavior from the point of view of a non-materialist understanding behaves similarly. A theist could argue that God’s plan is a systematically organized set of patterns and sequences which leaves room for random error and chance (kind of like an omniscient engineer). Yet, for the most part we are divinely guided and science is an explanation to the mysteries of the universe. Take for instance, an insect without the evolved capacity to understand its complete environment. These insects sit at the top of a pond and create their ecosystem. Yet, what they don’t have the ability to understand is the depth of life that lives below and above them.
When trying to understand God – Humans are a lot like insects
But in all honesty, I have had a very private and special relationship with God my entire life. And understanding that relationship is still inconceivable to me – there are moments when his presence is soft like a gentle hand on the back of my shoulder nudging me in one direction vs. the other. Other times, his presence is loud and roars through hardship, struggle and devastation. Yet, with every experience and every turn that God has created in my life, with a commitment to my relationship with him, I have been lead down a path in which my ultimate happiness has been put first.
Proverbs 3: 5-6
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
When the path does not seem straight and life feels ambiguous and uncertain, these are the moments that God asks us to seek him the most. It may not always feel good, in fact, many times a spiritual break through is painful. When God causes pain in our lives, God is asking that we be led back to him, back to the reason driving our purpose here on earth. Working in drug addiction, how I conceptualize the use of drugs for many individuals is a turning away from the path that God has set for us. It is a fear of life. It is a fear of the purpose God has asked from us, a fear of the spiritual struggles meant to help us grow and evolve.
Learning to trust in God’s plan is not an easy feat – but without his guidance and the Holy Spirits counsel we’re like sailors lost without a lighthouse at sea.