Understanding God's plan for one's life can be tricky. Of course, there are those who believe such a notion is rooted in silliness (usually atheists and agnostics). But for the religious, the idea that God has a "Divine Plan" is often central to individualized faith.
Even in politics, it's not uncommon to hear Christian candidates say they have felt God's call to enter a race -- or, as in New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's case, sit one out. Dr. Paul Kengor, a political science professor at Grove City College, penned an intriguing blog post about Christie's potential 2012 presidential bid in relation to God's will.
During Christie's speech this week at the Reagan Library, he said, “I know, without ever having met President Reagan, that he must have felt deeply in his heart that he was called to that moment, to lead our country.”
It seems, here, that Christie was referring to a call from the Lord. Kengor attempts to "unpack" the statement, writing:
For Reagan, the call in his heart came from himself, from his country, and from his sense of God’s will. I imagine that Christie, likewise a religious man, is seeking a call from those same sources. [...]
It is correct to say that Reagan felt called by God. But Reagan’s thinking was always more complicated than that. Ronald Reagan spoke constantly, throughout his career, of what he and his close friend and colleague Bill Clark (who had been with Reagan since the California gubernatorial years) called “the DP”—i.e., the Divine Plan. Reagan prayed to discern God’s will, but he knew that discernment is a tricky business.
See, Reagan had initially felt compelled to run back in 1976, but he lost. Later, he realized that this was for the better and that the loss, just like the initial call, was part of God's plan. Suffice it to say, at the end of the day, just because one feels compelled to win doesn't mean he or she will. In the end, Reagan was elected in the next electoral cycle and the rest is history. Kengor concludes his post as follows:
My point...is that some leaders feel a call—particularly from Divine Providence—and some do not. What may be most important for a leader is to respond to the call of leadership when he feels a nation is hungering for it and for him. Governor Christie may not ever feel a call from God to be president. But he may be getting a call from his party and from America. And that may be the voice he needs to heed right now.
Kengor has a point here, as discerning God's will can be very challenging. Perhaps the support Christie is experiencing is merely an indicator that he's the guy we need in the White House (or maybe not). Either way, the nation, even if God isn't vocally saying so, may be calling (perhaps even boisterously pleading) for his leadership.
Click here to read more of Kengor's piece.