I've been thinking about this a lot recently. As an Evangelical Christian, I believe that God is at work in the world today. I believe that God works in the lives of human beings to bring about his sovereign will. I'm just not sure about how.
This could be a heavy one, so I'm going to break it down into a few examples.
1. "God made me like this."
People sometimes say things like, "I'm really shy, but that's how God's made me so there must be a reason." I would say that shyness is usually a result of a web of experiences, often at childhood, and is generally not a good thing. I wouldn't say it's bad to be shy, but it's well worth trying to break out of it.
The problem is, if you're going to say that God created your personality then what about the aspects of your character that aren't God-glorifying?
2. "What a blessing."
Last year our church had a gift day to raise money to pay off our mortgage. The result was staggering, with over £100,000 being offered (after gift-aid, I think). This money was earned by members of the church for doing their jobs, and then generously given away.
We thanked God for blessing us with such a huge amount, knowing that it had come from our own pockets. I don't want to sound cynical - I'm just trying to put forward the most challenging facet of my thought process.
3. "God put me here."
We often give credit to God for providing us with various things, especially jobs. As a Christian youth worker, lots of people tend to assume that I heard God's voice calling me to youth work, and then was assigned the position because the trustees recognised that calling.
Actually I applied because I needed a job and it sounded interesting. I was accepted because the trustees thought I was the best candidate.
4. "God formed me in the womb."
Crunch time. How was I formed? Through a natural biological process. How was God involved? I don't know. God is obviously quite discreet.
I believe that God is in control. However, "in control" is a passive state. The question is; how much does God actively control?
Of the events that happen in my life, how many are planned out by God?
A: All of them - the good, bad and seemingly irrelevant.
B: Just the good ones.
C: Specific ones that God uses to acheive a specific goal.
D: God only acts in response to prayer.
E: Only events that can be deemed miraculous are the direct work of God.
F: God is not actively involved now, but He is the master of the "butterfly effect", and so probably factored all the events of my life into His original creation plan.