God has plans for each and every one of us. His will for us is that we might be saints in heaven with Him. You probably are familiar with the famous statement by Jesus in the Gospel of John:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” -John 3:16
God’s plan is for us to partake in His divine plan of salvation. God has no needs that we can satisfy or more glory to gain from it, but rather, out of His infinite love, He desires the best for us: eternal life with Him.
Alright, that sounds all fine and dandy, but about our free will? How does that factor into this all? I do not think that many people doubt our free will, but in case you’re still skeptical, think back to the last time you thought something bad, you did something mean, etc. Did God smite you before you did it? Were you unable to do what you wanted to do? No. People can do some pretty cruel things to each other. Look at the situation where someone went up and shot 4 Jewish people in France the other day. God didn’t want that to happen, but God also didn’t interfere with the shooter’s free will in order to save the innocent, even the children. Every year countless children die from hunger around the world and God doesn’t suspend anyone’s free will to fix it. Remember how Jesus said:
“I am the way, the truth, and the life” -John 14:6
He meant it. If we really care about the starving children and all of the evil in the world, He is calling us to make that difference in the world. As partakers in His divine plan, we have to follow His will and PARTAKE in it! Starting to see what I’m getting at? How could we be doing His will if we are not doing our best to have
“your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven” -Matthew 6:10
as He said in the Lord’s Prayer? We help carry out God’s will by serving the poor and the needy, by being good friends, sons, daughters, husbands, wives, fathers, and mothers, by worshiping God and honoring His commandments.
Our free will is an opportunity for us to choose God over ourselves. In the same way you don’t want to marry someone who doesn’t want to be around you, I don’t think that God wants to invite people to His crib (way more pimped out than anything in Hollywood) for eternity if they don’t know how to “do the dishes” and “clean their room,” if you think of commandments the same way that you think of chores.
If we aren’t friends with God during our time on earth, why would He all of a sudden want to be our friend after we die? That’s the gist of it.
But how “engrossing” is God’s plan for us? I think that many people struggle with this sort of concept, and I’ll include myself in that category. Say I do something against God’s will. Does that mean that God’s plans won’t happen because of me? The simple answer is no. God’s plans will happen because God is God! God is all powerful and can do anything that He wants. God absolutely gave us free will so that we can love Him and others. (It requires free will to love, a conscious choice. Hope that makes sense.) That means that we can do things contrary to God’s will, and He will work with us and give us another chance to make it right. Look at salvation history with God’s relationship with Abraham, Issac, Jacob, Moses, etc. They messed up a lot. For example, as Moses was up on Mount Sinai receiving the 10 Commandments, the Israelites, whom God had just rescued from Egypt and taken through the Red Sea, gathered all of their jewelry together to melt down and make a golden calf, like one of the old Egyptian gods, and worshiped it. Even in that instance, God called an audible on the play and adjusted so they could still get the first down. God was not happy but showed mercy on them, and even didn’t destroy them even though they had sworn an oath never to worship another god. God made the Israelites do daily sacrifices for this mistake and changed other particulars too, but He worked with them and showed mercy. I believe that this is how God deals with us when we make mistakes. He adjusts, and often isn’t necessarily pleased, but He is always ready to give us second chances to convert our hearts to Him. Think of the Parable of the Lost Sheep:
“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray? And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray. In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.” -Matthew 18:12-14