The heart of man plans his way,
but the Lord establishes his steps.
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
I want to attempt to help the Christian wrap their mind around the fact that even though they have free will… God is still in control. This seems to be a major quandary for many, and it is a continual hot topic of debate amongst the brethren (Arminians vs Calvinists for example), and also Christians vs non-Christians. But, I think that I can help with a simple illustration.
Below is an algorithm. An algorithm is a step-by-step procedure for solving a problem or accomplishing an end. God has, in a sense, kinda set up reality like an algorithm. Regardless of the free choices we make, it will all turn out as He plans. Try this simple “math magic” illustration to get my point. The answer will always sovereignly be five; regardless of the number freely chosen:
1) Think of any number
2) Multiply it by 2
3) Add 10
4) Divide by 2
5) Minus your original number
I love how God warns Judah’s king that even with His prophetic revealing as to what He has planned, the king cannot thwart it, no matter what he attempts to do to go against it:
Jeremiah 37:6-10 (HCSB)
The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: This is what you will say to Judah’s king, who is sending you to inquire of Me: Watch: Pharaoh’s army, which has come out to help you, is going to return to its own land of Egypt. The Chaldeans will then return and fight against this city. They will capture it and burn it down. This is what the Lord says: Don’t deceive yourselves by saying, ‘The Chaldeans will leave us for good,’ for they will not leave. Indeed, if you were to strike down the entire Chaldean army that is fighting with you, and there remained among them only the badly wounded men, each in his tent, they would get up and burn this city down.”
It’s quite sobering.
This is Paul, encouraging the Corinthians to rest in the power of God, rather than in the wisdom of men:
1 Corinthians 2:1-5
“And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”
Godspeed, to the brethren!