To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue … The lot is cast into the lap but its every decision is from the Lord. Proverbs 16:1, 33
The same two verses in the Message read this way: “Mortals make elaborate plans, but God has the last word … Make your motions and cast your votes, but God has the final say.”
God doesn’t micromanage, we have the freedom to make plans. Yet, God is Sovereign and his purposes aren’t thwarted (Job 42:1). It’s the problem of where does God’s Sovereignty stop and man’s free will start. This won’t be completely understood until God’s kingdom fully comes.
In the meantime, perhaps the best way of thinking about this is to consider young children. Parents may allow their children to make choices of who they want to be friends with, sports they would like to play and other activities they would like to participate in. Parents may create the impression that their children are free to do whatever they like. However, there’s a larger framework to their choices, which a child may be unaware of. Parents may manoeuvre their children towards certain friends, sports, or activities without too much disclosure. Sometimes guidance is more obvious, as parents discourage their child from being friends with a particularly obnoxious classmate or from being involved with a sporting group that was lax about safety. Mostly though as children mature, they feel free to make plans.
Likewise, God gives us enormous freedom and we can make many and varied choices. Yet we don’t always see the larger framework. The choices we make are subject to God’s Sovereignty, which is a good thing because he is good.