This is so much more important than it seems at first. Your belief on this changes your approach to life.
When I was a teenager, this seemed to come up a lot. What did God want me to do when I grew up? What school did He want me to go to? Who did He want me to marry?
It never sat well with me that there might be only one answer to those kinds of questions. I relate to Henry in the Ever After movie:
Henry: Do you really think there is only one perfect mate?
Leonardo da Vinci: As a matter of fact, I do.
Henry: Well then how can you be certain to find them? And if you do find them, are they really the one for you or do you only think they are? And what happens if the person you're supposed to be with never appears, or, or she does, but you're too distracted to notice?
Leonardo da Vinci: You learn to pay attention.
Henry: Then let's say God puts two people on Earth and they are lucky enough to find one another. But one of them gets hit by lightning. Well then what? Is that it? Or, perchance, you meet someone new and marry all over again. Is that the lady you're supposed to be with or was it the first? And if so, when the two of them were walking side by side were they both the one for you and you just happened to meet the first one first or, was the second one supposed to be first? And is everything just chance or are some things meant to be?
So, for the sake of discussion, I will use marriage as my example. And we will assume that we have free will, because if we don't have free will, this discussion is meaningless. (there is a different thread on free will, although it has just reached the 6 month mark….)
Is there 'the one' we are supposed to marry? I do not believe so.
Problems with this idea:
What if you marry the wrong one? How can you follow God's plan for your life? Do you settle for the second best plan or do you divorce and marry the “right” one? I don't think anyone would say that is reason enough for divorce.
If God has only one picked out, He has to orchestrate that meeting. And some people would have to be extremely obedient or they would miss their chance. I met woman who met her husband on a Mission Trip. What if she didn't go on that particular trip? What if the trip was to another place? What if he didn't interact with the group at all? Otherwise, God would need to take away our free will to guarentee that we meet “the one”. Even if you live in the same city, the meeting has to be orchestrated.
When does He choose “the one”? If it's been His plan since the beginning of time, that multiplies the chances of “the one” not even being born, much less meeting you.
Why do we have free will if God's plan is so specific? If we make one mistake are we really stuck with only second best? Or if someone else makes a mistake? Isn't our God bigger than that?
Scripture on marriage:
“He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD.” Proverbs 18:22
A wife, not THE wife. See also Proverbs 31:10
1 Corinthians 7 is very interesting. Paul recommends not marrying but says its ok to marry. We have a choice of whether to even get married.
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14. What is the point of this verse if the is only “one” anyway? See also Leviticus 21:7
When God speaks on marriage, He doesn't seem to spend much time on how you find your spouse. He talks mostly about what kind of spouse you are once you marry if you choose to marry. Google “Bible Verses on Marriage”.
Understanding this takes a HUGE amount of stress off. We can find visible assurance that we are marrying the right kind of person. Others can confirm our choice without having a direct sign from God.
And, not that God is limited, but aren't there more important things? I LOVE organizing, it's fair to call me a perfectionist. But I use up a LOT of time doing that. If there were souls at stake on Minecraft, is it worth tearing half the building down so the roof lines up?
This article points out, God gives us instruction on how
to choose, not who
to choose. http://www.titusinstitute.com/datingbib ... rriage.php
Another article: http://www.todayschristianwoman.com/jul ... s-one.html
So, put that into a larger context.
Maybe God doesn't have everyone's careers picked out. Maybe he is more concerned with what kind of employer or employee you are.
Maybe God doesn't have your college picked out. Maybe He is only concerned with what kind of student you are (not just as in grades, but in relationships during school).
Maybe we got distracted by the romanticism of fate.
I do believe there are exceptions. That sometimes God's call is very specific. However, I believe He has given us free will and hearts that feel and minds that think because He wants us to choose, not because He wants to see if anyone can hit it on the mark 100% of the time. Are there verses that prove me wrong that aren't about a specific person and therefore are actually an exception to the rule instead of evidence against it?
If you disagree, how specific do you think God's will is? If He has your school, job, and spouse picked out, what else?
Does He have our kids picked out? How can He? What about kids born outside of marriage? Was it God's plan for their parents to sin? Or is it not sin? Surely no one would say God doesn't have a plan for them. Or, is a child outside of marriage a gift from God despite our rejection of Him?
K, so I guess I'll let others in on the conversation, there is so much more to say!