Everything that happens may not be God’s plan, but God can make his plan work through everything that happens
When something terrible happens, we may question, “Is this God’s plan? Did God want this thing to happen?” Some people answer firmly in the affirmative, believing they are demonstrating their abiding faith in God. But does it really? If we ourselves do something stupid or sinful, did God want us to do it? If yes, then won’t God be responsible for the consequent suffering we get, for he made us do it?
Such complexity is best addressed by turning to the Bhagavad-gita (13.23), which declares that God is the overseer and the sanctioner of everything – not the desirer or doer of everything. This declaration acknowledges that God has given each one of us free will. And we can misuse that free will to do things that God doesn’t want us to do.
Does that mean we defy God’s plan? Not exactly, because God’s plan is not so simple as just one pre-decided course of action; it is more a direction than a path. He is resourceful enough to further his plan even through our mistakes and missteps. To put succinctly, everything that happens is within God’s plan, even if it is not God’s plan.
Understanding carefully the nature of God’s plan is both sobering and encouraging. Sobering because when things go wrong or when we do wrong, we don’t have to naively or perversely accept such wrongs to be God’s plan – we can resolutely fix things that need fixing. Encouraging because we don’t lose heart thinking that everything is doomed because of our mistake – God’s plan is still working.
If we thus keep working in a mood of service to God, he will keep working with us, on us and for us, eventually bringing good even out of the bad.
Think it over:
- Everything is God’s plan – what are the problems with this assertion?
- Can we defy God’s plan?
- How does understanding the nature of God’s plan help us?
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