Monday, July 22, 2013

Free Will

Why is it that when things are going really bad, and we are feeling at our worst, and life seems like it just can't get any worse, and we're miserable beyond belief to the point we just want to tear our clothes and put ashes on our heads... Why is that when so many of us say, "I really need to straighten my life out and get right with God."  We cry out for Him, beg Him to remove our affliction, promise we will turn 180 degrees and go where He's called us to go.

And then when the particular storm has ended, and the boat seems righted again, we are soooo quick to place the credit anywhere but on Him. "Good thing I learned those relaxation exercises or I'd never have gotten through that."  "Glad I worked so hard putting in overtime at work so I could get that extra money to solve that problem." "Thanks God, but I guess I've got this after all, so nevermind."  We might as well thumb our nose at Him and say, "HA! Joke's on you if you REALLY thought I was gonna do that!"

I know some people that have made me wonder why God doesn't keep them in distress, keep their lives in a constant state of turmoil (and I guess I don't know for sure that He doesn't, since turmoil in the heart cannot be seen with the eyes).

And then I realized that if He did that, it would be the equivalent of placing a spell on someone to make them love you - if you have to do that, it's not true love, so what's the point?  In other words, taking away our free will, which He does not do. And if that's the absolute only way a person is going to walk with God - if he's in turmoil - then what's the point?

When I was a kid, I used to lie in bed at night and beg God to take away my free will.  "Please God," I'd pray, "I know You give us a free will, but please take mine away so it's not such a battle to do what's right all the time."  I just wanted to be perfect, for Him. And every time I screwed up and did something wrong, I would lie there at night wondering why God let me do that.

It's still a dichotomy to me, this desire to do right battling the sin nature, while also knowing we will not be perfect this side of heaven. I'm thankful Paul wrote of it, if for no other reason than to know I am not the only one to be confused by it. "For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do." (Romans 7:19, KJV) or " For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing." (ESV)

But back to my original musing.  If God brings or allows turmoil in your life, and you realize you need to turn your life back over to Him, don't change your tune once the difficulties go away. If you're willing to follow Him when things are rough, why wouldn't you want to follow Him the rest of the time too?

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