What is Fate?
When people say that they have a fate or destiny, they really mean that they have no control of their own lives, but that they are resigned to a certain path that cannot be changed. The concept gives control over to God, or whatever supreme being the person worships. For instance, the Romans and Greeks believed that the Fates (three goddesses) weaved the destinies of all men. No one could change the design. Some Christians believe that God has predetermined our path and that we are jut tokens in his plan. However, other Bible verses remind us that God may know the plans He has for us, we do have some control over our own direction.
Jeremiah 29:11 - "For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." (NLT)
Destiny vs. Free Will
We have choices. While the Bible does talk of destiny, it is usually a destined outcome based upon our decisions. Think about Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve were not pre-destined to eat of the Tree. They were designed by God to live in the Garden forever. They had the choice to remain in the Garden with God or not listen to His warnings. They chose the path of disobedience. We have those same choices that define our path.
There is a reason we have the Bible as a guide. It helps us make godly decisions. It keeps us on an obedient path that keeps us from unwanted consequences. God is clear that we have the choice to love Him and follow Him…or not. Sometimes people use God as a scapegoat for the bad things that happen to us, but really it is more often our own choices or the choices of those around us that lead to our situation. It sounds harsh, and sometimes it is, but what happens in our lives is part of our own free will.
James 4:2 - "You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God." (NIV)
So, Who's In Charge?
So, if we have free will, does that man God's not in control? Here is where things can get sticky and confusing for people. God is still sovereign. He is still omnipotent and omnipresent. So, even when we make bad choices, or when things fall in our laps, God is still in control. It's all still part of His plan.
Think of the control God has like a birthday party. You plan for the party. You invite the guests, buy the food, have the supplies to decorate the room. You send a friend to pick up the cake. He decided to stop by his girlfriend's house to see her before she left for work and he showed up late with the wrong cake. You have no time to go back to the bakery. It can either ruin the party or you can do something to make it work flawlessly. Luckily, you have some icing left over from that time you baked a cake for your mom. You take a few minutes to change the name. You serve the cake, and no one knows any different. Still the party you originally planned.
That's how God works. He has plans. He'd love for us to follow His plan exactly, but sometimes we make the wrong choices. That's what consequences are for. They help bring us back to the path God wants us to be on…if we're receptive to it.
There is a reason so many preachers remind us to pray about God's will for our lives. It is why we turn to the Bible for answers on problems that we face. When we have a big decision to make, we should always look to God first. Look at David. He wanted desperately to remain in God's will, so he turned to God often for help. It was the one time that he didn't turn to God that he made the biggest poor decision of his life. Still, God knows we're imperfect. It is why He so often offers us forgiveness and discipline. He will always be willing to get us back on the right path, to carry us through bad times, and be our biggest support.
Matthew 6:10 - Come and set up your kingdom, so that everyone on earth will obey you, as you are obeyed in heaven. (CEV)