Brother Jay and I are chatting about something in the background: The Western concept of destiny is unadulterated nonsense.
First, we have to deal with the impossible notion that God is not bound by the past as we are in our fallen state. It’s impossible in the sense that we our fallen state prevents us thinking that way. It’s incomprehensible. We can approach it, but we can’t easily operate on that basis. It’s not that there is no passage of events in Eternity, but that they aren’t confined to a linear path. God can go back and readjust things at will. When we get to see it, it’s called “miracle.” When we don’t get to see it, we may never even know about it. We will tend to think it was always like that in the first place. The concept of non-linear time makes no sense to us because we cannot step outside of time and space restrictions that are part of the Fall.
Second, God and His Creation are responsive to us as Persons. Predestination is not a matter of a predetermined path; it’s about the destination. That’s the etymology of the word — regardless of the path, the destination is what’s determined. Nor is it a question of a predetermined end-point in time. Rather, it’s an organic end-point. The Bible recognizes that fallen humans instinctively try to measure the time-distance between here and there, but it’s not the way Creation works. It’s all about the ripening of things, and in response to a wealth of conditions that you cannot comprehend, much less determine.
Finally, no two of us will experience it the same. Some folks are locked into a certain amount of outcome, and even pretty tight steering on the way. Others wander all over their lives freely with little apparent input from God. There’s all kinds of ways God will mix things for each person. Again, this is incomprehensible to us without a lot of cognitive redemption, and even that will have some limits. But all of us Westerners start from a really bad impression, and we are likely to struggle some right up to the point of death.
“God can see the future” is not the same as “God determines the future,” especially as such things are commonly understood. He gets what He wants, but it doesn’t work as our puny fallen intelligence wants to imagine.
If I tell you that I have a powerful sense of calling and mission, that’s one thing. It’s just painting an image of how God deals with me and how it has changed me. If I tell you God has granted me a prophetic word that my calling will be used in a specific mission, that’s another thing entirely. A sense of calling is no guarantee of a particular mission. God’s actions don’t have to make sense like that. But if I string these two thoughts together, what I’m doing is offering an indication (a sense of calling) of how I will tend to carry out the mission (a prophetic promise). You would naturally expect who I am to affect what I do, just as it affects how I write on this blog.
Hint: None of this is particularly new. It reflects my experience studying the Ancient Near East and how the literature approaches such things.