Free will is the cornerstone of human life. Without the ability to choose, and the responsibility to face the consequences of our choices, we would not actually be human. We would be controlled and directed. We would essentially be robots following a program. Under that scenario the entire legal and governmental system we have in place may as well be tossed because a person without free will has no responsibility for their actions.
While we do have free will (2 Corinthians 5:10 being just one of many Biblical examples), we are also subject to God’s Plan. Without God’s Plan life would be just as meaningless as one without free will. In absence of a divine plan we would all just be knocking about making random choices, with no purpose or destination to our lives. The larger framework of the entire universe would be a system of random events.
God’s Plan is largely impossible for us to fathom. Just as we would not be able to explain the workings of a steam engine to a skunk with very much success, we are just too far down the totem pole to comprehend such a massive perspective. Proverbs 16:4 says it far more accurately and succinctly than I ever could. How, then, is it possible for us to live in a world where we have both a grand unknowable plan and free will?
When I think of how free will interacts and intersects with God’s Plan for us, I think of a Water Boatsman (a fascinating water insect) that is adrift at sea. This insect has a remarkable amount of choices it can make in this scenario. Some of those choices lead to increased survival, some diminish his chances considerably. It can swim, sink, float, eat, or any other impulse or plan that it can conceive of. While it is making those choices, it has no concept of the tidal influence of the moon. The circular ocean currents that may sweep it this way and that are beyond any choice this courageous water boatman may make.
So we do have choice. We make them every minute of every day. You are making a choice to read, or not read, this post right now. You get to be in charge of the fine details of your life and that is an immense amount of power. Any job you would like to do, any friends you would like to enjoy, any charity you would like to support is open to you. You are a free person. Yet, you cannot make the world stop spinning. The oceans will still ebb and flow.
Change those things in your life that you are able to change. Accept those things in your life that you do not have a say in. When we learn to trust God’s plan, we learn to enjoy this wonderful world without having to control every aspect.