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Archive for February, 2011

Sometimes fate is a much more tempting prospect than God.  Fate is impersonal, inevitable, and chaotic.  We know that God is personal, that He has given us a free will, and that He is a God of order- but it doesn’t always look it.

Sometimes it seems life is bolting like a wild horse, and our feet are caught in the reins and there is nothing to do but hang on.  What is to be will be.

Again, sometimes it seems that nothing happens the way we would really have chosen for it to happen.  Nothing is as it is, and everything is as it isn’t.

And there’s the twisted justice that seems to plague us.  Or rather injustice.  And it seems not only unjust, but illogical.  No rhyme or reason…

And yet we know that God really is there.  And He really is in charge.  I have never felt that as strongly as in the first days after Liza’s death, at the same time as I was feeling swept in the whirlpool of fate: His hands holding us up were palpable.

I remember the frustration of childhood, when adults make the “right” decisions, and you’re swept along in the tide of those decisions that are right for them, but don’t feel right for you.  And you think that when you are an adult, the winds will be clear, and you will turn the rudder in the direction you choose.  But you never actually arrive at that adult moment.  Because when you become an adult, there are other currents muddying up the waters, and your best efforts lie in tacking sail to follow the winds.

I thought that I was beginning to direct my own destiny up until that moment I just happened to go to Russia. I had plans, I had organization- and I had figured out a way to serve God. Going to Russia was something I wanted to do as a salute to my childhood obsession, and it was my decision, and I thought God would bless it.
How do you reconcile man’s free will with God’s? When is He allowing us to make the decisions He’s already made for us, and when is He directing the events beyond our control?
While I felt a sense of inevitabilty in all of “my” decisions from that point on, it didn’t really bother me. It has only been in the last few months that I have felt myself at the mercy of circumstances beyond my control.
Having been an obedient child, and traditional and conservative by nature (disregarding some eccentricities), I have always had a conviction that if you do the right thing, then the right things will happen to you. I suppose I’m of the ilk of Job’s friends. I didn’t really think God punished us with bad things, but I thought you could more or less control your life by making the right (for various reasons) decisions.
I either misjudged my decisions, or I was drastically wrong to begin with.
I am not complaining about my life. I am just saying that nothing has gone as I expected it would, or imagined it could. Which is what makes me wonder what I had to do with anything?
When I first had serious health problems, it was a major struggle for me. It was the first time I ever doubted God. It didn’t make any sense to me; I wanted to open an orphanage – to serve Him- and I was finally almost there, and now there was no way I could possibly do it. I asked every question it was possible to ask, and prayed every prayer I could think of, and finally came to rest with the fact that God really wanted me to be dependent on Him, and not so very capable and self-sufficient. Okay. That required an every-day attitude adjustment, but we were managing.
However, losing Liza, in this day and age, after we had moved, followed diets, taken pills, had hundreds of people praying for us, and even come home from the hospital already felt like wanton violence.  I felt God holding us up, but I also felt abused.  It didn’t make sense-and it hurt.  And it hurt even more every time I recited the course of events, and tried to think how I might have fixed it. 

And if I couldn’t have fixed it, that meant my free will really had nothing to do with it, and why would God do that?  Why would He expect me to sit there and watch Him kill my daughter? 

I am a reader, and have always found my consolation in books.  I’m grateful that God sent me the right books, because I begin to understand a little.  I understand that our free will is not in our decisions, but in our responses.  That our plans, intentions, and ideas are good, but not significant; that our moment by moment relationship with God is more important than anything we do or don’t do.  That being grateful for we have and have had is more important than grieving what we have lost.  That we really don’t know the future, the present, or even the past as well as we think we do, we can’t follow all the ripples to the shore- but God can.  That God is neither a kind grandfather nor a harsh taskmaster- He is God.

And that sometimes we think too much, and always we trust too little.  There is no fate- but neither are we the masters of our destiny.  There is very little that we really understand, but God knows it all; our primary purpose is to draw close to Him and wait.

And heaven is a much more tempting place than I ever thought.

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