Imagine you’re kayaking down a river. What choices are available to you?
First, there are choices concerning what you’d like to do in the kayak. How you would like to sit. What you would like to think about. If you’d like to sing like a rock star.
Then there are the choices concerning what you’d like to do with the kayak as you paddle down the river. You can choose to turn right or left. You can choose to go with the current or against it. Or you can choose simply to spin in circles for a while.
But of course there is also a river. And ultimately that river determines where you end up. You clearly have some say in your experience of the ride, but, in the end, there is a destination waiting for you.
If free will is the actions of a man kayaking down a river, predestination is the river.
Predestination says your destiny is determined and free will says you are able to make many choices before you get there.
So the answer to the question “how is it that God has predestined me, and yet, I have free will?” is that God, by His mercy and grace, according to His good pleasure, called you out of a “river” leading to death, and set you in a “river” leading to life, by which you would be led to Him (John 6:44), see your need for Him, desire to know Him, follow Him, and ultimately do the good works prepared for you by Him (Ephesians 2:10).
This does not impede your free will because you, like the man in the kayak, have, at every point, choices available to you. You have choices over what you’d like to do with yourself (thoughts, physical actions, etc.), and you have choices concerning how you would like to steer your life (how you interact with and react to people and situations which come into your life).
Yes, there is a destination, and yes, God assures that you will get there because, at the end of the day, God has chosen you. And salvation (every part of it) is chiefly about God and not you (Ephesians 1:3-14).
Actually, your whole life is not about you, but about God’s work through you. This is why, as we journey down the river of life, God the Father has given His children a Guide, called the Holy Spirit, whose job it is to point us and conform us to the Master, God’s Son, Jesus Christ. And it is why the chief end of man is to glorify God (make Him known) and enjoy Him forever. For it is God’s joy to see His children participate in the revealing of Himself to all people.
Thus, the doctrine of predestination is not so much a doctrine about limited choices as it is a doctrine about God’s grace.
What are your thoughts about free will and predestination?