Chapter 2 of Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Life is entitled "You Are Not an Accident." It reinforces the idea of God having a plan for each one of us -- He planned our existence, even the exact hour and time of birth.
"God prescribed every single detail of your body. He deliberately chose your race, the color of your skin, your hair... the natural ltalents you would possess...God left no detail to chance...Nothing in your life is arbitrary."
To understand the profoundness of God's tender love and concern for me, that He watched over me lovingly as He formed me and that He has plans for me, to give me hope and a future -- all these things moved me incredibly as I came to know Him. They still do. I am written in His book; my name is inscribed on the palm of His hand. I look at my hand and see, "The Lord's."
Warren's view seems more Calvinistic than mine. He doesn't touch on (at least in this chapter) the idea of free will. I believe God did not create us as puppets, but as living, breathing, emotional creatures who have the choice to love Him and seek his will, or not. A puppet cannot love. We can only love when we can choose, and God, who loved us first and knows us so intimately that He numbers the hairs on our heads, wants our love.
Evil happens in this world. Bad things happen to people through no fault of their own. People die before their appointed time. I don't believe God "plans" this for us. It is a consequence of living in this world. God did not promise that bad things won't happen. God promised to be there with us through all of it. He comforts those who mourn, sustains those who are suffering and works to bring good out of evil.
This said, I agree with Warren's basic tenant that God made each of us for a reason and our lives have profound meaning. We must make God the reference point of our lives to discover that purpose.
Though I'm sure Warren wasn't thinking of this when he emphasized that God selected our date and place of birth, our hair and eye color, our natural talents and our uniqueness of personality, I couldn't help applying it to the controversy in the church regarding homosexuality. Each person's sexuality is something chosen for him or her, not chosen by that person, and not a mistake. I think through the implications of this and see no reason to say that God did not call Gene Robinson to be a bishop.
Jesus was stern on the subject of sin, but he didn't hesitate to upset peoples' applecarts over what is sinful. It was the subject of a good many of his discourses with the Pharisees.
Jesus told us the way to the Kingdom is to love God with all our hearts, minds and souls; to love our neighbors as ourselves. God knows we cannot accomplish this on our own, so Jesus came to bring us forgiveness and to reconcile us to God, to show us the way to Him, to help us understand that each of us is the work of His hand and the apple of His eye, even His beloved, as the bride is loved and desired by the eager bridegroom.
He created me for Him. There is nothing about me He doesn't know, yet He still loves me unreservedly. He has a plan and a purpose for me. This is Good News, indeed.
[Note: if you wish to insert "Her" or "Creator" where I've used "He," please do so. They're all valid. I'll discuss this in a future posting.]