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Christian Counseling - Planning vs. Trusting God

Do we, should we plan for our future or simply let go and trust God to provide for the outcome of things, such as: health, finances, relational or personal problems, purchases, decisions, the direction of the country, etc? There are those that advocate one over the other, even to exclusivity.

Most of us have heard stories having positive or negative outcomes of people whose decision to follow only faith caused them to stop or refuse medical help, not plan for retirement, reject the help of friends and others, not have a budget, and avoid politics, even voting. They believe God's will will be done anyway, despite their efforts, and that He knows best. Some believe that depending on other people for anything reveals a weak and limited faith that is displeasing to God.

I have heard in non-counseling conversation about those who stopped critically needed medications because they believed their faith alone should carry them, but who, subsequently died. I learned that family members who supported or encouraged their lethal decision believed it was God's will the person die because they did. And that all life and death is in the hands of God. I suppose they didn't have the foggiest understanding of human defense mechanisms, like rationalization. These avoidable tragedies occurred also because the people didn't have the full picture about who's responsible for life and death, which is God and us. But that's a subject for another time.

Plan, trust, take things into your own hands, have can be confusing to anyone, especially new believers. For some, any way of making important decisions easier is considered, and faith is an easier path. I have no doubt there are some in the camp of "faith only" who want to avoid responsibility, fear being imperfect and making mistakes and find it difficult to take on adulthood. I wonder what they do with scripture verses that highlight their individual responsibility and required effort, such as Proverbs--get understanding, knowledge, wisdom and it will add years to your life? Or James who says that faith without works is useless and dead?

In the end, we are all called to exercise faith, which leads to works, which is the evidence of faith's existence. If we do not do our part in this life, we cannot claim to have faith. To say it differently, we plan for everything as if it is only our responsibility and trust God to intervene, guide and do the good we know He desires to do for everyone, especially those of faith. Depending on God without our due diligence and first securing wisdom can lead to tragedy unintended by God.

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