[5 minute read]
“God has a plan.”
I believe that. But what “believe” has come to mean to me – empty words when I assent only intellectually without living from my heart – is a topic for another time.
No surprise, God’s plan is probably pretty complicated. Even just God’s plan for me. A famous philosopher allegedly said, “God made us in God’s image, and we return the favor.” We tend to think God plans like we plan.
If we look at that rationally, it is of course silly. We are very different from God. And yet, we are the same, also. We tend to think of God’s computer program for creation as pretty complicated. And indeed it must be. It seems to have many purposes, and indeed it does. Many subroutines all aimed at the same goal.
What is the overarching goal that God’s plan has for all of us? What is the purpose of our own small subroutines in that grand program? They must be the same in nearly every sense – that enormous destiny, and the tiny destinies oriented toward that enormous one.
I suspect that, in one sense, the fate of the tiny is to be obliterated into the enormous. That is, the common fate is annihilation of the *comparison* itself.
Something seems to be calling us so that that something can reveal that we are not separate from God.
We may think of God as so enormous that we are not very connected to God. Well of course, I find it impossible to believe that *God* thinks that same way at all. That’s one way we are different from God, and the same as God.
We often hear, “God is love.” That’s a pretty enormous thought. But we do not doubt it. Are *we* also love? Not as enormously as God is. Or are we? Is “love” something to be compared as tiny and enormous? I think we have an extremely difficult time NOT making that comparison because our life experiences of authentic love have been mixed in, inseparably, with false and wrongheaded notions of love.
Many things which we have done, and which have been done to us, are not at all authentic love. But let’s confess how nearly impossible it is to separate those false instances from authentic instances of love. The false instances don’t negate the authentic ones. Nearly all of us have experiences of authentic love.
Many of us have experienced the love of parents, or showered onto our own children authentic love. Yet, both our parents and our children have not loved us perfectly. Nor have we loved our loved ones perfectly in every instance. That does not make the authentic love of those instances any less authentic.
We have loved our romantic partners, and been loved by them. The same with friends. But, more often than we would like to admit, sometimes what we intended to be love, or thought love was, was just an imitation. We often thought imitations were sufficient, or would lead to authentic experiences of love. If we are parents, many of our parenting practices were very wrongheaded, fueled by our own egos and comparison. We wanted to be seen as good parents, even if our practices didn’t feel entirely right to us. We succumbed to fear of judgment rather than fear of uncertainty.
We each know these things as human beings.
And we each project these things onto God.
Perhaps this is why we defer to God by, “God has a plan.” We sense that, whatever plan we might formulate, it can’t be quite right. We wish and hope that God is in control, because we are fallible.
I think the overarching purpose of God’s program is love. It is what drives all of the subroutines – us. The glitches and the bugs in that program were not created by the programmer. The artificial intelligence of the subroutines is left to sort out the authentic from the inauthentic. Because that sorting itself arises from, and progresses toward, the overarching destiny of the whole program.
It is our human destiny to make mistakes. Not a one human being avoids that. And so we optimistically believe that we “learn” from those mistakes. We learn what love is, and we learn what love is not.
Many times during that education we insist that we have loved better than others. But that insistence of the ego is rooted in comparison. We judge ourselves by how well we have imitated acts of love. But those are acts.
We have often been actors.
And the Greek word for actor?
I do not believe for one second that God wishes us to figure out God’s plan. I think God has made it much simpler than that: “Love, like I, the Lord your God, love.”
That boundless love is enormous because it has no conditions. It is unconditional. It has no need for notions of comparison, of judgment, of guilt, shame, of fear. It needs no conditions. It is God’s nature – not only a trait, characteristic, or attribute of God. If we say, “God is love,” that is all God is. It is we who add on other things, like King and Judge.
The exclusive basis – EXCLUSIVE, no other – for God’s being, and all which God brings into being, is love, and nothing else.
God is love. It is God’s fundamental mode of being. And, as God’s children, it is ours also. We feel most natural when our loving is authentic. For it is our fundamental nature to love.
Neil D. 2022-01-27, inspired by “Allie” who shares her story, which is Beauty