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Theology Thursdays: The Divine Design by Susan L. Taylor

Our lives seldom move forward in a straight line, or unfold in the way we pray to God they will. So we doubt and fear and give our power to panic because we believe only what we can see. But even when our world appears to be falling apart, beneath the chaos lie a divine purpose and perfect plan. The opening doors and greater rewards God is urging us toward await us, but are hidden beyond our view or understanding.

As Frederick Douglass observed, we want the bountiful rain but not the thunder, the treasures of the ocean but not its awful roar. But all of this is life, and all that life serves up is good--is all God--and just the experiences we need to step up to greatness. Life is an awesome, infinite process, always in a positive flow. The proof is all around us and within us. Look at our universe: two hundred billion stars, including our sun, spinning, spiraling, revolving in billions of galaxies--worlds colliding, dying, all in a perfect cosmic dance. The planets, the seasons, flora and fauna, creatures great and small, your life and mine, always changing--everything decomposing, recomposing, repositioning itself--and always according to the divine design. Nothing that God created is haphazard: You didn't stumble onto the planet, you were preordained.

Our rational mind gets confused, makes us long for a life of security, free of pain, challenge or change. But life is an adventure, a great journey of exploration, risk, discovery and change, change, change. While there are no sure maps to guide you, your destination was chosen before you came and your soul knows the way. Life is a finishing school. Your soul has come to earth to refine itself, and it was aware of its needs before it entered your body, the divine-right body you must have to complete the tasks God put before you on this journey.

Last weekend in the Indianapolis airport, a sister and I were engaged in a conversation about this. I could see the fear and sadness in her eyes as she approached me. Sharon, a young single mother, is being forced out of a job she says she needs and loves.

Like Sharon, we never know what we will encounter next: loss, betrayal, a health challenge, a loved one's making her transition. And the solution to whatever challenge we face is always the same: Don't give your power to panic; stand firmly in the faith that God rides on the heavens to help you. That's what God does. The divine pattern is always in place, so lean not on your own understanding, but know that things fall apart so God can give you something better and make more of you.

The sole purpose of the journey is to learn that "Ye are gods." To live in the full strength of your being, you only have to show up loving, working your plan, and trusting the divine design as it unfolds.

Susan L. Taylor is editorial director of ESSENCE magazine. This article was published in the June 2000 issue of Essence Magazine.

Susan L. Taylor

Thursday, August 10, 2006

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