From Christianity Today:
God has a wonderful plan for your life.
It’s evangelical orthodoxy, on a par with belief in substitutionary atonement and the sanctity of Spurgeon. It’s part of the salvation package, along with forgiveness of sins and life everlasting. Christianity isn’t just true, it offers the sure and certain knowledge that whatever happens to you is God’s will. If you don’t like it, it’s because you haven’t understood it.
I don’t believe a word of it.
Where does the idea that God has our lives mapped out for us come from? Biblically, it’s often related to Jeremiah 29: 11, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” There are other verses that speak of him working behind the scenes to bring about a particular result.
The trouble is that in too much evangelical rhetoric, these verses have had a weight put on them that they can’t possibly bear. So we’re forced into all sorts of mental gymnastics to try to justify the idea that God has a plan for each individual, even when this idea so clearly fails the test of experience. I’m sorry, but I don’t believe God’s plans for anyone include bereavement, divorce, redundancy or large-scale tragedy.