Q. I have heard preachers many times speak about how we all started as a thought from God and are all part of his plan but I can’t help think about Abraham and Ishmael. I don’t think Ishmael was a part of God’s plan. Abraham and Sarah were impatient with God and went their own way. So are we all part of God’s plan or are there people here today that were never meant to be here?
A. God delegated the procreation process to Adam and Eve when He told them to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth (Genesis 1:28), so in the grand scheme of things you could say that everyone ever born was and is part of God’s plan.
I don’t believe Ishmael was part of God’s plan for Abraham and Sarah. But that’s not to say He was surprised by their actions or that He didn’t have a plan for Ishmael. Even though Ishmael was not the child God had promised Abraham, He did bless him and make him a great nation (Genesis 21:13).
We’ll never know how different the world would be today if Ishmael had followed God’s purpose for his life. I say this because I’m convinced that even though He prophesied that Ishmael would live in hostility toward all his brothers (Genesis 16:12), I believe God had a better plan for him.
So in both the general and specific sense, I don’t believe anyone was ever born outside God’s knowledge and without Him having a purpose for them.