Barcode_LabelI hate grocery shopping.  I really do.  I love eating and I love cooking.  But I hate the process of getting the food into my house. So thankfully, my husband goes to the store with me (and sometimes, for me!) and we divide and conquer.

We’ve got a system so we get to the checkout line in great time every Saturday.

While in the checkout line, I marvel at the patience of the cashier as she dutifully drags every item across the barcode scanner.  I think I would throw myself into traffic if I had to do that for more than 30 minutes.  So THANK YOU to the patient cashiers of the world!

But let’s talk about the bar code scanner for a moment.  As much as I marvel at patient cashiers, I am even more impressed by the invention of the bar code.  Most of us haven’t had to give this much thought.  You may not have pondered the fact that the assembly of lines of various thicknesses underscored by a few numbers represents a wealth of information that the bar code scanner knows how to read.  Not only is the item’s name and manufacturer in that bar code, but that code also triggers the Point of Sale program to identify the price and whether or not that item is on sale this week. It also triggers a calculation that lets store managers know how many of that item are still in stock.

I’m sure there’s a lot more that bar codes do, but the main item of importance is that those lines mean something to the laser scanner.  That laser scanner can read those lines and turn them into text inside the POS machine and on your receipt.

Why am I bringing this all up, you may ask? Because our lives and the experiences we have from one year to the next are like those lines in the bar code.  To us, this is a nonsensical line-up of events, good and bad.  But not to God.  He knows the code.  It all makes sense to Him.  The jumble of circumstances and choices that don’t seem to add up to a destiny are beautiful text to Him.

And He invites us to listen to His rendering of what our lives mean both through His word and in prayer.  You’d be surprised that He has a LOT to say about our destiny, His plan for us.  He has everything under control and He is Lord over every season.

Jeremiah 29:11-13:  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Proverbs 19:21: Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

So the next time that you are fretting over a mistake or wondering if you have ruined your chances to fulfill your destiny, just remember that you serve a God who is causing all things to work for your good and He knows the good plans He has for you.

He knows those plans similarly to the way you know your favorite movie.  You’ve seen it a hundred times and you know the ending. But even though you know how it ends, you never get tired of watching it all play out.  God is fully enthralled watching us grow and mature and fail and learn. Even though He knows how it ends, He is sitting on the edge of His seat in love with every moment of your life.

So where does our free will come in, I hear someone ask? If He is controlling everything according to His plan, how do I have free will?

That’s an interesting question that I will answer with other questions. Have you ever been angry at someone you love? How can you have both emotions of anger and love at the same time? Wouldn’t they have to be mutually exclusive? Of course not!

So why do we say that God’s Sovereignty and our free will must be mutually exclusive?  Why can’t it be both? If we say we believe that it must be one or the other, we are saying that God can’t be both Sovereign and allow free will simultaneously and therefore, we are saying that He is limited.  God isn’t limited.  We are.  You might not be able to be completely in control of all things AND allow your children to have the right to choose, but God is not in your creation category.  Thank goodness, you’re not God!

Now that’s not license to go out and live any way we want with the attitude that God will bring everything together in a nice neat package regardless of our choices.  If that is your decision, then I reckon that some of the lines in your bar code will be thick black ones that speak of regret and wasted grace.

The knowledge that God has good plans for us should give us courage to serve Him with abandon, not run like an orphan.

Before you were even a twinkle in your mother’s eye, you were a fully-planned-for child of God with a destiny.  And like a bar code scanner, the Lord makes sense of everything – EVERYTHING – that is happening in our lives.  There is not one detail that is random or extraneous. Not one! Some day we will marvel and praise God when we see how He worked every chance meeting, every change of mind at the last minute, every mistake and poor decision into a beautiful poem of His grace and redemption.

Now you:

  • Does the knowledge that God has a good plan for your life give you peace?
  • Do you ever spend time worrying that you might have ruined everything by your mistakes?
  • Do you think that you are more powerful than the eternal predetermination of God to be good to you and lead into His plan?
  • Have you had experiences where you became aware that God had caused certain things to work out just right, leaving you scratching your head with amazement?

God is working in you and through you. And it will all make perfect sense one day!