What Is The Plan

It used to be quite easy to be angry with God, that he would allow suffering of the innocent; that he would allow crimes against humanity; that he would torture for all eternity his own creatures who he created to lack the skill to have finally made the right choices, within a framework of overwhelming confusion that he provided for them. But I have had an epiphany, a moment of revelation.

Throughout my life I have been a protestant Christian, raised Southern Baptist as a child, but as I grew up and lived in different places I went to Methodist, Lutheran, and Evangelical churches as well. Each of these religions teach that there is a purpose in all things, and we don’t know what that purpose is but we must take it on faith that there is a perfect plan behind everything in this world, even the most horrific crimes. It has always been a struggle for me to take it on faith that there is a great and good purpose in action when I hear something such as a child is born, tortured to the breaking point, and dies without ever knowing anything else.

But it isn't necessary for us to take it on faith alone that there is a good purpose for great pain. In fact, the real truth is being given to us, through actual witnesses in today’s time with new accounts each day, and indeed there is a good and great purpose for everything and everyone, and indeed there is mercy and grace and healing for every human. When we see a mountain we know it's there because we can see it or talk to people who have been there. Likewise, there are many people each day who die, have experiences, and come back to tell us what happened. These are near death experiences (NDE), and I am totally convinced these experiences are real. In fact, these experiences explain how much sense it actually makes to have pain in our lives, and that there is no reason to be angry with God about it.

Nothing else I have ever learned makes more sense or answers every question like this does, nothing else brings peace to my soul, forgiveness for others, and causes me to look forward to the future and even beyond death like this does. Many aspects of these NDE’s show the truth and reality of them: People who have been blind all their life come back and describe in great detail, including shapes and colors, what they saw (even in another room) while the doctors worked on their body, all which is later verified by an independent impartial person. Or that NDE’s from children too young (three to five) to understand the concepts tell the same kinds of stories that we hear from the adult NDE’s. Or that even atheists and people within religions that have no God tell these stories. [Note September 4, 2011: Check out the new book "Heaven is for Real", an NDE story of a four year old.]

Go to the web site www.nderf.org and look under the tabs NDE Stories: Current., and NDE Archives (don't miss the link that allows you to expand each story into the full version). Also, look at the site www.near-death.com. You will find that there are many NDE’s each day, even now as you read this another person is likely having an experience. The knowledge gained from reading and understanding these experiences is profound.

After reading a few hundred or even a thousand or more of these experiences, one thing that becomes clear is that we are all working on our spiritual selves to get closer to what God wants us to be. Many of the NDE’s tell us that during the time away they began to remember they had been there before, almost as if they were coming back home. It’s as if life on earth were just a short journey, not a beginning and not an ending. There is a hymn, “Softly and Tenderly” written and composed by William Lamartine Thompson (1847-1909) that describes coming home after death, that I believe is so accurate that it must have been inspired by experience. The NDE stories describe a God of love and mercy and forgiveness, and that a perfect plan is unfolding, there are also some biblical parallels.

And so what is this perfect plan that has been revealed in the NDE’s? That we were with God before we lived here on Earth. In many cases, we chose our lives before we lived them, because we were counseled and made aware of things that we needed to spiritually work on and what kind of life we needed to have to develop that area.

Imagine, prior to your birth, that you are sitting in a room with many others, being shown by the spiritual leaders that there was about to be born a child who would have a horrible life, grow up without knowing love or kindness, and experience pain to the breaking point. Then, the leaders also tell you that this life is necessary because it will have an impact on many other people, an impact that is necessary for them to become closer to God, and that when this horrific life is over then the person who had to live it will be welcomed back home and healed from the experience. Then, the spiritual leader looks across the room at you and the others and says, “You are here because you have things to work on as well, that only sacrifice can teach you.” He then asks, “Who will volunteer for this life, so that the others in the picture may be brought to a greater understanding and therefore closer to God? The social worker there whose life will be changed forever in a positive way after meeting you, that cop there who will give his life for you, that stranger who will learn to stand up for what is right, the parents who will come to understand the need to cherish loved ones; all need to have this impact so that they may become who they are meant to be. Who among you loves these people enough to take on this life of pain for them?” And then, you raise your hand and say, “I will take on this life, I will do this for them.”

And so it is no longer necessary to be angry with God for the suffering that people go through, since each person who is having a hard life may have made that choice willingly, for greater reasons than what we know. It's possible that we chose our life before we were born, for a reason greater than ourselves. You may never know what impact you have had on other people. Some things may not feel helpful to you, but maybe those things are the profound awakening for others. The NDE’s also tell of a life review for each of us, and that the purpose is to show what you could have done better and what you did well. There is no condemnation or judgement, only teaching and tremendous love and acceptance. Obviously, it isn’t even necessary that we know these things that NDE’s teach us, since life isn’t really about conquering evil; the perfect plan is about growth.

~ July 22, 2010

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