Wednesday, November 16, 2011

So what exactly is the damn Plan?

I have been trying to subscribe to this philosophy that "everything happens for a reason" and that "God has a Plan." You've seen it in my posts and though you may think that I have this amazing faith that causes me to put everything in the hands of God because I know He knows what He's going to do with it, that's not the case.

Like now. I'm really struggling with this whole "God has a Plan" thing. Sometimes I think that's what you say when you don't know what else to say. You can't figure out why something like this would happen. There's no rhyme or reason - it just seems grossly unfair. So you just shrug your shoulders and chalk it up to The Plan.

Here's a couple of examples. I have several friends right now battling illnesses. For one of them, it seems SO unfair. She already has so much going on in her life, and is one of the least-deserving (not that anyone deserves it) people I know to be afflicted with cancer. She's trudging through it like a warrior, though, with a full army backing her up. She flaunts her bald head instead of hides it, throws a "Pink" party instead of crawling under the covers, and laughs her infectious southern laugh that I'm sure they're already familiar with in the chemo room. Though her life is probably changed forever, God has apparently chosen her to be a poster mom for breast cancer, and I can't think of a better one.

In that same category is a friend of mine who is a seven-year cancer survivor. I didn't know her during her ordeal, but suffice it to say that the first time I met her she blew me away with her enthusiasm for life, her "devil-may-care" attitude and her genuine excitement for the world around her. She may have always been like that, but I have a feeling that she made a bet with God that if he got her through cancer she would make it worth His while - and she has. Now that's a Plan I can handle.

Then there's the Plans I struggle with. My mom has lived a healthy lifestyle for the better part of her life. She's in her 70's (God forbid I get her age wrong so I'm just going to be general about it) but looks 20 years younger to me. She and my dad takes long walks daily and go to the gym to lift weights and exercise. They've both always been active in some form, eat healthy, and rarely gets sick. So WHY out of the blue did she have a cancerous kidney the size of a small football removed last April? And why are they biopsying "suspicious spots" on her abdomen today? What's in store for her? What's that Plan, God? What's the point in living a healthy, active lifestyle when you're just going to pull this in the end? I just don't get it.

And what about my sister-in-law, trying to make my brother's 40th birthday special by surprising him with Bears tickets? What was your Plan when she had a stroke in the 3rd quarter and had to be rushed to a Chicago hospital? Thankfully, she's home now, which in itself is a small miracle. So are you trying to tell her something? If so, what? Because they have a really good marriage and I'm thinking she's a little freaked out, as is my brother. You want to clue us in?

And I wonder sometimes - is saying "everything happens for a reason" just some lame way of making yourself feel better? For instance, right now there's a little girl named Maddy lying in a hospital room in Chicago, just diagnosed with leukemia. Maybe she will grow up to be an advocate for leukemia research. Maybe there is someone in that hospital who needs to cross paths with her parents. Maybe her angelic presence is going to change the life of someone she meets. I don't know - but telling her parents that "it's happening for a reason" is not going to go over real well right now.

Sometimes we are faced with hard decisions, like I was recently. What got me through it was both "everything happens for a reason" and "God has a Plan". Now I feel as if my faith is faltering. I feel as if I may have used this philosophy as a crutch, telling myself that God subconsciously told me to make that decision because it's part of this special path He has me on, as opposed to the fact that I really just single-handedly jacked up my whole life. I wonder how many people are faced with even more life-changing decisions than mine, and if they ever question if God is really at the wheel.

I hate that I question this; I really do. I don't mean to be a Doubting Thomas, but there are times when I just can't see the proverbial forest for the trees here. I know that every bad thing that happens to someone and the subsequent life-changing result isn't always worthy of a teary, feel-good YouTube video - some are more subtle and not as immediate. Maybe just too many "bad" things are happening around me all at once and I'm miserably failing whatever test God is administering.

I do still believe God has a Plan, and when I realize it I'll probably feel really stupid - like when someone gives me one of those logical brain teasing questions where the answer is really obvious but doesn't manifest itself as such.

Let's hope it's just that simple in the end.


  1. I wonder about that often too. Someone told me once that that is why they call it *faith*. Simply loving the Lord and not questioning his will, because in our human state, we could not possibly understand his reasons. Never, never lose your faith girl. The world would become a very scary and lonely place.

  2. We all have questions sometimes! The key is to turn those questions over to God, pray, and listen. Even if we don't hear what we want, when we want, we are giving it to God and trusting in Him. Satan loves to see our faith waiver-it's a perfect time for him to come in and wreak havoc. Finding thankfulness even in the bad times helps, too!

  3. I feel ya, Ames. I'm so tired of hearing "God has a plan" and "Everything happens for a reason." Seriously? Seriously. Don't people KNOW what my kids and I have been through in the past year alone? A small recap: divorce, find ex-husband dead in his apartment, last week I lost my job and this week my kid was given a tentative diagnosis of autism. More about that.) Honestly, at times it may be comforting to hear that God has a plan for my life, but I DON'T LIKE HIS TEACHING METHODS. If God were a professor, I definitely would give him a low rating for throwing pop quizzes and giving really hard tests. On a bad day, I might even warn others to stay the H*LL out of Life 390 if you know what's good for you, God's teaching it this semester. I hear Buddha is teaching it next semester, you should totally wait for him. I bet I got a C-, even with the extra credit.

    Wait. I think I just wrote my next post.

  4. When in doubt, refer back to July 23 and Aug 9! Dean


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