Here in Luke 1, we get the stories leading up to the births, and even the conceptions, of both John the Baptist and his relative, Jesus Christ. After the angel Gabriel speaks to John’s father, we read, in Luke 1:24,
After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived.
Gabriel also speaks to Mary. When he does, he says, in Luke 1:34-35,
The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.
Gabriel announced God’s plans to these interested participants before the children in question were even conceived. This tells us something about God’s plans, and ours.
I’m reminded of what God said to the prophet in Jeremiah 1:4-5,
4 Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
Jesus, John and Jeremiah all had obviously special roles to play in God’s plans for his people. Without getting into a too-lengthy study on the subject, there is ample evidence to conclude he has specific, and therefore special, plans for each one of us. Each human life is important and a part of God’s plan.
The plans for each person are not special because of who we are. These plans are special because of whose they are and whose we are as a result. If God created us with a plan, then that is something we need to take seriously.
There is a prayer from Hilary of Poitiers (who you can read about here), in which he says,
Before I came to know you, I was nothing. I had the misfortune not to know the meaning of life, I was without understanding of myself, I was nothing of what I am now. It was your mercy that gave me life. I have no doubt that you decided it would be good for me to be born, for you are good, you had no need of me and you would not have given me life if it had been to my detriment … *
Personally, I would like to live out the thoughts expressed in that prayer for the rest of my life. Hilary does not express God’s plan or purpose for him. He only admits that he can trust that it must be good. God is good and deserves that kind of trust from us, his created beings. Whatever God’s purpose and plans are for each one of us, may we fulfill them to the utmost.
*from Early Christian Prayers, edited by A. Hamman, translated by Walter Mitchell