What Have We Done to God’s Plan?

August 15, 2021

I don’t know about you, but I’ve just about had it.  

Never in all my years (and I’m ancient) have I seen such an epidemic of ego-centricity and the subsequent violation of God’s plan for the goodness of the world.

Things are just going from bad to worse:

  • Widespread flooding where it has never been seen before – much caused by the fact that rainwaters have nowhere to go;  the ground, which would have soaked up the welcome moisture in the past, now buried under massive roadways and commercial sprawl in order to satiate humanity’s ‘need’ for transportation independence and easy access to commerce. 
  • Fires consuming unbelievable amounts of acreage due to heat, drought (human instigated global warming) and recently revealed negligence by  power companies
  • Tensions erupting into violence because of human insistance on tribal superiority; that superiority being whichever ethnicity, nationality, race, sexual identity, etc happens to be our own 
  • Acceptance of the innocent death of the vulnerable, infirm, and even of children, because our ‘right’ to our own lifestyles (no masks, no vaxx, unfettered gatherings) is so much important than the right to life of others 
  • Attacks on exhausted medical personnel as they leave work after those hapless souls have spent hours caring for many of those very friends and families of those now on the attack.

And this is just for starters! 

What have we done to the goodness of God’s plan for the peaceable kingdom?

We have taken the lovingly ordered creation of God and superimposed chaos and destruction over it all.  

What is going on?

“In the beginning…..and God said it was very good……” Genesis 1-2

Familiar words about the goodness of all that God has made…in the beginning. We spend untold hours squabbling over evolution and creation but totally miss the point: God’s creation was planned to be a peaceful, loving, mutually affirming, ever increasing action of divine goodness. It took about a nanosecond for humanity to take that divine goodness of order and  peace and flip it on its head.  (Interesting isn’t it to realize that squabbling is often a diversionary tactic humanity uses when it doesn’t want to be held accountable!)  

Humanity was created to love and be loved by God and to care for all creation as God’s stewards – God’s representatives of love and nurture in the world.

However, humanity’s ego had a different plan.

Being made in God’s image, being loved by God, being given such an important role within the grand plan of creation has never been enough.  

Humanity wanted to BE God – to know all that God knows – to be the boss of ourselves – arbiters of our own personal rights and freedoms – arbitrations that don’t take into account the welfare of anything or anyone beyond ourselves.  

The consequence of the human plan tells the tale: 

  • Lying and manipulation
  • Child and domestic abuse
  • Violence and enslavement
  • National domination of other countries 
  • Murder…..not only outright murder, but murder achieved through neglect and marginalization

You name it, humanity has done it!  

And this is nothing new. 

As it states in Ecclesiastes there is nothing new under the sun! Ecclesiastes 1:9

The story of humanity’s insistence on personal liberty and the human delusion of being on par with God fills the pages of scripture – never with a good outcome, I might add!  

Still, time and again God perseveres with us, spelling out the divine plan.   

Time and again, human ego gets in the way.  

So finally…..want to be God and go your own way?

Fine, try exile in Babylon…for a generation…70 years!

Yet even in exile, God’s justice was tempered by divine love and mercy.  

Check out the words spoken to the exiles in Isaiah 11

 The exiled people’s misery wouldn’t last forever.  “A shoot would spring up from Jesse.” A Savoir would come and the people would have another opportunity to live into God’s plan for a peaceable kingdom of love, forgiveness, healing and renewal.

Christ, the Prince of Peace, is that shoot springing up – the green leaf from the seemingly dead stump.   New life – new beginnings for all creation IF humanity would choose to accept Him.

Unfortunately, we have consistently chosen poorly.  

Human ego, as much as we hate to admit it, just cannot accept the threat that Jesus is to personal power, privilege and manufactured religion.

They tried to kill Christ ‘back in the day’ and we continue even now – 2000 years later! How so?

  • No matter the sanctimonious platitudes we spout, we DON’T love others unconditionally but rather position ourselves to be ‘better than’ and assume the role of condescending benevolence.
  • No matter our knowledge that we are to be hands-on healers of the broken, despised, infirm, abused, destitute, homeless, and marginalized in the way that Jesus was hands’ on, we DON’T go and do likewise, but rather throw petty cash in the direction of needs and go on our way unencumbered.
  • No matter the destruction we currently see taking place on our planet, we DON’T sacrifice personal convenience and pleasure in order to care for Earth.  After all, according to certain billionaires, we can just move to another planet, right?  Like Hezekiah, we just assume whatever is coming won’t impact us during our lifetime, so why worry? 2 Kings 20:18-19
  • We disregard those who sacrifice so much on our behalf because we have a certain sense of entitlement and feel justified in sacrificing so little

My rant could continue for pages – but I won’t.  

Suffice it to say, we are living in exile right now because of choices we have made – and continue to make as we continuing to reject God’s plan for the goodness of all – and co-opt the unconditionally loving and sacrificial message Christ teaches.  

Is there hope for us?

Absolutely.

The God of divine mercy is the absolute and gracious God; the tenacious lover of all creation. We can choose differently.

How do I know?  

Check out Jeremiah 29:11-14.  The full text in is the In The Stillness portion of this blog.  

These words, spoken to a people in exile, a people who had made bad choices for so many generations and now felt bereft of life and far from God, are words that still pertain to us today.

God still has plans for us, IF we are: 

  • willing to return to God, acknowledging that God is God and we are not.
  • willing to not only seek God’s will but live into it – that ‘all your heart’ piece of the Jeremiah passage.

We humans have tried our darnedest to derail the goodness of God’s plan – by trying to become a god of our own imagining.  

Perhaps it is time to humbly repent of what we have done – God will listen.  

Perhaps it is time to live into God’s plan for the benefit of all the world – and not just our own petty plans for our own benefit

Perhaps it is time to actually live into the name of the One Who came to give us a way out of exile and into the presence of God.

I am fed up with the way things are – how about you?  

God’s plan is the only way out of this mess! 

And to God be the glory!  AMEN.

Published by Pastor Catharine

Retired ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. I have a Master's of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry (with an emphasis on Spiritual Transformation of Community) from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.

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