You’ve found your soul mate! Then someone says to you: “A relationship with this person will cause you to deviate from The Plan for your life and prevent you from fulfilling your creative destiny.”
That’s ridiculous, you say; no one has that kind of knowledge. Suppose they did? What would be your response? Would you even consider what they had to say?
This is the premise of a movie I stumbled upon called, “The Adjustment Bureau.” In it, Matt Damon is a bad-boy politician who has a chance encounter with a woman in a men’s room. (It would take too long to explain.)
He is convinced that she completes him, only to have fedora-wearing strangers, Adjustment Bureau operatives, tell him that he is never to see her again.
The Chairman has a Plan for his life, they say, and it does not include the woman. In fact, she takes him decidedly off plan. The adjusters, angels perhaps, intervene to get Damon back on Plan, which they hint includes several more election victories and the distant strains of Hail to the Chief.
The unmistakable message: Follow The Plan, and “You could make a real difference.” Go your own way and all bets are off.
What strikes me is that this premise isn’t really fiction.
The truth is God does have a plan for each of our lives: a plan to prosper us and not to harm us, to give each of us a hope and a future. The Bible says God loves us and that He wants to do us good.
Trouble is, we don’t believe it.
Human natures says: How does He know that this person, this job or this relocation isn’t right for me? I know what I feel, and this feels right. It feels good. How can it be wrong? Deep down we don’t really trust that God knows what He’s talking about.
We resent God exercising authority over us. What gives Him the right to determine what’s best for me? Rather than take God’s advice, we rebels prefer the famous lines of Henley’s Invictus:
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
Not every bad choice is necessarily sin. Could be it’s the right thing at the wrong time. Or a “good” thing that encourages the very worst parts of our personalities. Still, we pursue it because we humans enjoy flirting with disaster.
Like ill-fated contestants on the old game show “Let’s Make a Deal,” we are not content with what God has revealed. We want what’s behind Door No. 3 even if it is a booby-prize.
And we are free to choose. Our freewill, when not submitted to God, has a way of taking us off course. Matt Damon’s character makes his choice, and we are left to wonder about the consequences.
In real life, some of us have made our choices, gotten exactly what we wanted and wish we hadn’t. The thing we knew would bring us such life is sucking it right out of us. But rather than admit we were wrong, some of us are blaming God that no adjusters in smart hats came to save us from ourselves or have come to clean up the mess.
If we were honest, and at some point we all need to get honest to God, we’d admit that God’s word is right: “There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.” (Proverbs 14:12)
The good thing is we don’t have to stay on that path. We can turn around at any point. God calls that turning repentance, and it puts us back on Plan.