There are some things about the greatness of God that, when we try to conceive of it, comes very close to short circuiting our brain. We have this terrible habit of down-sizing God to fit into boxes we can understand, which is not bad when we are trying to understand what we are capable of understanding. However, it becomes a problem when we limit God's ability to do things and work things in our lives according to those boxes. Just because we can't conceive of it does not mean God is limited to our limitations. That would be an idol, fashioned by our own hands and limitations, instead of the Creator of all things. We touch on one of these incredible things as we read the introduction to Peter's first epistle:
To God's elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood. (1 Peter 1:1-2)
Many people get stuck on the concept of foreknowledge because it is tied in with other passages that refer to us being predestined by God. Obviously there needs to be a better understanding of the Word and the language used as well as a broadening of our understanding of God's ability. The idea that we are predestined refers to God's plan and desire that everyone born would be saved. There is no special requirements for salvation; we do not have to belong to a certain race, have a certain colour, be a certain height, belong to a specific church. The Scriptures tell us that everyone who believes will be saved. This is what we have been predestined for. Some people refuse their destiny and others do not even know it is there for the taking.
Now the foreknowledge is the part that can fry our brain. We are told that we are not locked into one course of action in our life but God has the foreknowledge of what we are going to do. This does not mean that our future is cast in stone because we are still free agents, although we should understand what freedom means. Freedom is an illusion. We all have a master according to the Apostle Paul. There are those who do not want to accept Christ because they would lose their "freedom". But Scripture says:
Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. (Romans 6:16-18)
Jesus says that he came to set us free but that freedom is from the slavery of sin so that we could be clear minded enough to make the choice to die in our sin or to live as a bond-servant of Jesus Christ. A bond servant was a person who chose for himself to stay as a slave to his master. So when I refer to us as being free agents we need to understand that our actions are either controlled by the sin we are enslaved to or by the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
Now, understanding this, think of how many decisions you make in a day. How many possibilities are their in each decision? Very few of them are black and while, yes or no, a choice between two things. The least little thing can change our whole day. Ask some of the people who were not at work the day the World Trade center was destroyed. The decision to answer the phone saved them. The fact the red lights delayed them saved them. Stopping to tie a shoe saved them. Each day the least little thing can change the outcome of that day. One decision impacts the next decision which impacts the next decision. There are millions of possible paths we could take in our day and we are not locked into any of them. God's foreknowledge means that he can see each possibility of every decision we will face and he has planned for the millions of possible paths. If it gives you a headache thinking about one life like that try 8 billion people because our decisions impact the lives of countless other people which will influence their decisions. This is the greatness of our God, that he would care about us so much that he would lay down provision for every possibility in my day.
We limit our God in a very unkind way when we fail to understand the extent of his involvement in our lives. When we fail to understand we fail to trust and when we do not trust we allow fear and worry to enter in. We begin to doubt who we are in Christ, we lose our confidence and the world suddenly becomes a very scary place. We should take comfort that God knows who we are from our past, who we are today and who we will become in the future and he still loves us and pursues us and desires for us to be with him. He has promised that his plans are to prosper us and not to destroy us, and he has promised never to leave or forsake us. This is even with knowing all of our days. So, take courage in the knowledge that you have been chosen with purpose and God has laid down his plans for you for today even before you have opened your eyes to begin the day.