God's plan is perfect. What about death of a loved one? God's plan is perfect.
What about an evil event? God's plan is perfect.
Have you ever had those times looking back over your life and wondering "what if"?
What if I went down another path of life?
What if I took that job? Married that person? Went into the service (or didn't go into the service)? Didn't have that accident? Didn't have that terrible relationship or event? Made that bad decision? And on ...
Behind the wondering, for every believer, is the underlying question:
"What if circumstances (or worse, I) messed up God's plan for my life?" Here may be a radical revelation to you who wonder: You cannot mess up God's plan for you! His plan is perfect!
God's plan is perfect because He understands every possible permutation of creation from beginning to eternity. And because He understands every conceivable outcome already, He has planned the perfect finale for each specific permutation of all of creations' potential paths.
God's plan is perfect for you no matter what paths thru life you take. God's plan is perfect for every individual no matter what paths through life s/he takes. God's plan for all creation is perfect no matter what transpires.
Let's consider a tree as an analogy to a life lived. A tree has many branches. A life has many 'branches' - decision points/defining moments/events/etc.
The tree represents all your potential life milestones/directions, decisions and circumstances. Imagine you are looking at the tree and you see the blue background of the sky everywhere around it. The blue background represents the perfect plan of God. It is everywhere-it fills completely all around every single branch to the tips.
As time progresses, events, decisions, people and circumstances influence your life along a particular branch of life's direction. These are milestones or defining moments. Each one causes you to take a branch down the road of life. Each next milestone is constrained by the preceding milestones and dictate which alternatives are possible.
For example, one milestone might be married/single. Along a married branch, a particular set of vocations may be present (and others not present). Along a specific vocation branch, certain circumstances will be present, and others not present. And so on through every potential/actual milestone in life.
At the end of life (the very tip end of the branch) you will end up with a particular, unique set of life results across singleness, marriage, vocation, ministry, service, family, children, friends, relatives, enemies, neighbors, accidents, diseases, accomplishments and finally, death.
Here's the thing. At the end of that branch tip which represents the actual life lived, you remain within the perfect plan of God based on the life that is actually lived. And all of the many other permutations of the life that could have been lived would also result in the perfect plan of God for that life lived.
The different life paths lead to different life results – some with more emphasis on self, some on family, some on vocations, some on health, some on service, some on relationships, etc. But each one of those end results is contained within God's perfect plan.
Every potential life path you can take is still contained within God's perfect plan, just like the blue sky background surrounds and encompasses every branch of the tree.
The will of God.
Don't confuse the perfect plan of God with the will of God. The will of God and the plan of God are not the same. The will of God is contained within (a subset of) the plan of God. The will of God is only applicable to all sentient beings – human, angel, etc. Only these have the capacity and ability to choose by free will. The rest of creation does not. A person can be in or out of "the will of God" but cannot be outside of the plan of God. The plan of God encompasses all possible permutations of all of creation (including all of humanity). God's plan is perfect no matter what permutations occur throughout creation.
To be sure, for humans, the will of God is clearly laid out in the Bible for many of life's choices; to be saved by faith in Christ (born again), to live Godly lives, to walk humbly, to love justice, etc. But even if a person chooses to live out of the will of God through the very end of life (and thus perishes), that life that was lived is still within the plan of God. That plan is perfect. The life that was lived influenced elements of God's perfect plan that may never have been influenced by some alternative life path.
God's plan is perfect and totally encompassing all creation over all time. It cannot be thwarted.
God's will relates to humans and free choice. God's perfect will with a person may or may not be done. But the result of every human life lived is still contained within God's perfect plan. Whether the perfect plan of God is benevolent(heaven) or hopeless(hell) to a person is dependent on that person.
As for us, we are totally within God's perfect plan both now and forever.
So, the right question is not "What is/was God's perfect plan for me?' You cannot comprehend that.
The real question for any Christian is, am I within God's will for my life today?
It's a pretty simple question with a simple answer:
If you are living in obedience to all the revelation truth God has presently given you, you are indeed within His will for you today.
Oh, and by the way, the right answer to that last question insures that the perfect will of God for your life is being played out today.
Tomorrow will take care of itself.
Louis Posthauer is the founder of Hunters of the Harvest, a ministry focused on equipping the local church to reach and restore dropout believers. Louis consults with pastors and church leaders wishing to tap his expertise to mobilize their congregation with a biblical strategy to reach the dropout believer. He has been actively involved in the local church for 38 years and currently serves as a lay leader and teacher at Living Word Church of the Nazarene in Houston. For more information see www.huntersoftheharvest.org/to-pastors .