Missing The Plan
Thoughts on the First Readings – Joe Frankenfield
“I know God wants me to marry this guy; I’m absolutely certain He wants us together.” The young woman smiled from ear to ear as she revealed her destiny to me. When we spoke again a month later, she sadly related the story of her breakup and how she figured that she and her boyfriend had displeased God and, as a result, He was banishing them back into the dating wilderness.
Deciding what to do with the idea of God’s will is proving a big problem for people of faith. A deep distrust exists between those who search for and find God’s plan for daily events and those who think themselves totally responsible for determining their response to life. Sometimes the distrust between these two types turns into hostility and they hurl accusations of faithlessness or escapism at one another.
The stakes in this argument aren’t insignificant: one side fears seeing their community beginning to deny any reality beyond what we touch and see while the other fears a society controlled by absolute authoritarians disguising their personal views behind a mask of divine will.
Beyond the societal implications there’s the personal difference between those who long for the security of knowing the Creator’s plan for them and those who value, above all, the freedom and responsibility of choosing their own course in life.
Alleviating the tension in this situation isn’t easy. As totally certain as each group is that its vision of reality is true, neither position is provable. God’s communication – or the lack thereof – is simply not open to objective verification. In light of that, arguing about it is pointless.
Resolving this tension will begin when the parties involved adopt a radical respect for the hopes and a real determination to alleviate the fears of their opponents. We really have to love those with whom we deeply disagree. The alternative is to continue throwing stones.