There are some who have the Christian life all worked out and only need God for two things: to save them at baptism and take them home when they die—they can take care of everything in between. In fact, they’d prefer it that way. They have definite designs on how their life should go. I don’t mean a general direction, I mean they have all the meaningful specifics mapped out. There is nothing left to chance, choice or God. It’s all been pre-planned. They just need the Almighty’s assistance in helping life to work out the way they planned so time is invested in calling upon Him to respond to their understanding. They have a designer faith for their designer lives.
But what if it’s not supposed to be that way?
What if life is to be less certain, more open? What if, I don’t know, we’re supposed to live one day at a time? What if instead of calling upon God to respond to our understanding, we should try to understand how to respond to God’s calling? What if instead of trying so hard to have things work out our way, we just trusted God that they were going to work out? Wouldn’t we be more at peace? Wouldn’t this help us to put our faith more in Christ and less in our circumstances?
I think this is a significant issue. The worshipper doesn’t get to define the terms of worship. (The freewill offerings were such because God said they were). The disciple doesn’t get to negotiate the terms of discipleship (see Luke 9:23ff, 14:25ff). There’s nothing wrong with planning, in fact, it’s commendable. Paul appears to have been a meticulous planner. No, it’s not planning that get us in trouble, it’s the way we plan. We plan in a way that leaves no room for God (James 4:15ff). We plan as if we understood everything and had looked at every contingency. And then when our plans are threatened, we bring it up before God as if our way were the only way. That’s the issue!
An important element of trust is believing that God is going to work things out even though we might be short on the details (Proverbs 3:5-6, Hebrews 11:8ff). To think that life has to always go our way is putting way too much faith in ourselves and way to little faith in our Father. That doesn’t mean that we can’t bring our heart’s desire before Him. It does mean that if that’s all or most of what we bring before Him, we’re acting more like consumers than disciples. In the model prayer Jesus taught us that we’re to major in getting God’s will accomplished on earth —not our will okayed in heaven (Matthew 6:10).
We’re called to be disciples, not designers.