Destiny is said to be the events that will necessarily happen to a particular person or thing in the future. We say people are “destined” for greatness, that your “destiny” awaits, and when things (usually favorable) happen even when it seems it shouldn’t, we call it fate.
“Destiny”, and “fate” are two ideas that have been a bit tricky for me. At times, it is confusing to try to reconcile our freewill with an omniscient and sovereign God who “saw my unformed substance; in [His] book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me” (Psalm 139:16). God has numbered my days, but what about what happens during those days? I believe that God knows and is never surprised, but how much do the decisions I make actually matter? Do my decisions and actions change things, or am I headed for a single “destiny” that is unchanging? If my individual decisions didn’t matter so much, boy, my life would be a lot easier – we all know how indecisive I am.
I 100% believe that we have freewill. I believe that we are able to make our own decisions with our own minds, knowledge, and logic (or lack thereof). If we didn’t have freewill, Adam and Eve wouldn’t have committed that first sin in the Garden of Eden. I see evidence of freewill in poor choices I have made, in things I wish I hadn’t said or done, times when I knew what I should do but didn’t do it. But I also believe that my days are pre-determined, appointed; not by chance, not by accident. I have seen evidence for this in perfect timings of things in my life (including the bad things), the way unrelated choices brought me to a specific places and times, and even in things like not knowing what my future holds because of a disease caused my genetics in my family.
Many people ask, “How can God be totally in control, while giving us true freewill?” True freewill meaning, we are not being controlled like mindless robots without our knowledge. They seem mutually exclusive.
But might I propose, that this tension between destiny/fate and freewill is actually already a part of your worldview, whether it includes God or not. For anyone that has ever made a claim of destiny, I would be willing to bet they weren’t also thinking that destiny, or “the events that will necessarily happen”, meant that they weren’t making decisions by their own volition.
Some say, if God is in control and your “destiny” is already determined, that means your freewill isn’t actually free and you actually are incapable of making your own decisions. But I say, isn’t that exactly how destiny works? That you make a series of choices in life and what’s meant to be will be? It is hard for me to imagine the idea of destiny without a supernatural or higher being – if there isn’t one, who/what is the power behind it? Who/what decides what the end destination is?
So I suppose, at the very core, I believe in destiny. But I call it purpose. I believe that I am here for a purpose, and that once my purpose is finished, my time here on Earth will be complete. At times, it can feel like you know what your purpose is, that it’s a clear and tangible goal. So you strive and strive and strive and once you feel like your purpose is fulfilled, then what? The search for purpose seems to be ongoing, and we see people searching and striving for purpose their entire lives. When does “destiny” end? When you get that job you’ve always wanted? When you have the family you’ve always dreamed of? When you discover the cure for cancer, or do something that changes the world forever?
The truth is that ultimately, I don’t know my purpose – I only see what’s behind me and what’s directly in front of me. I only have a partial picture. But God, who is not constrained by time or space, sees the days that I could never see with my finite human mind. And I am trying to find freedom in that, every day. And this is where I find that freedom – by choosing to follow Jesus every single day, I should fear no failure, no man, no uncontrollable circumstance that alters the direction of my life..because God is with me. And He has a plans for me. Not to harm me, but to give me purpose, and hope, and a future.
“So what is freedom? Freedom is being so in love with Christ that you do exactly what you want to do and it accords with his will. Freedom is doing what you want to do and not regretting it in a 1000 years.
Freedom is seeing and savoring the supremacy of Christ so intensely that you are his totally, that’s freedom. The more satisfied you are in Jesus, the more free you are. The more you see him, the more free you are. The more you savor him, the more free you are. The more you trust him, the more free you are.” – John Piper
If you’re new to my blog, #WVW (Word Vomit Wednesday) is a fun little weekly challenge my friend Brian and I started to encourage more consistent and authentic writing. The point is to write down, or word vomit, whatever comes to mind, with lots of vulnerability along the way. Many have joined in on the fun, and you should too! 🙂