I was reading a book that by this time had sold many copies when I came across a comment that I know is widely believed around the world. I hesitated to publish this blog because I know it will be controversial, but to me causing discussion and deeper thought about a subject is a good thing. Someone’s opinions and beliefs could be changed by it, even mine.
So here goes. What I read was “My life is going to work out according to God’s will no matter how I feel, so why try to manipulate situations to avoid my unwanted human feelings?”
While I agree with this statement if we are like Paul in the Bible, who could say, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:” What I mean by this is, if I am putting God first in my life, doing what He asks me to do and if I want His plan to play out in my life then my life is going to work out according to God's will.
I didn't know we had this kind of a choice for a long time. There are a lot of people on earth who are living their own plans for themselves, rather than God’s plans. A lot of people go through life believing that everything that happens to them, for them, and even by them is God’s will for their lives. This is not true.
We have been given the power and authority in our lives to make choices. We decide what cereal to eat for breakfast, what to wear, what to buy and sell. God doesn’t choose those things for us, just like he doesn’t choose for us to drink and drive, do drugs, text and cause an accident, or to gossip or be rude to someone. He even tells us not to do some things, even so we can still make the choice to do them. The consequences will have been from our own choices, and not something God chose to do to us. Non-believers understand the power our choices.
There are things that God is in total control of like creating the earth, powering it, the eternal plan for man right from the beginning through Jesus death on the cross until the day He comes back. And so much more. But as far as our choices and obedience we do have choices and consequences.
A lot of people use the phrase, everything happens for a reason. It sounds very spiritual and it is true everything does happen for a reason but often the reason is because someone, not always us but someone made a choice to do something.
I also hear, “Why did God let that happen?” We wouldn’t tell our grown child that the farm belongs to him and that he is responsible for it, just to then turn around and make choices for him. Neither would it benefit him if we corrected all of his mistakes. We learn from our mistakes. Neither does God put us in charge and then take back the responsibilities he has given us. I am not excluding God's work in our lives though and I will write about this in a future blog.
We can learn how to trust God to protect us, help us and guide us in our lives. He wants us to ask him for that help, just like any parent likes to continue to be a part of their children’s lives and will help whenever they are asked. God says “Ask and it will be given unto you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be open to you.” The choice to ask and have God be involved in our lives is ours. Then He has things He wants to work together with us to accomplish in this world. It is a relationship with God that we need to pursue. It is our choice to pursue Him and His will for us.
The Serenity Prayer
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
I didn’t understand this prayer for a long time; it left me thinking that in some situations I had no choice but to put up with what ever it was that was affecting my life. "grant me the serenity to accept the things I could not change," It actually frustrated me for a long time. I guess accepting things is not one of my strong points. I was and am more on the side of, "change the things I can."
I heard this prayer again recently and with a better explanation, so I thought I would share it with you.
We can sit down with a pen and paper and write down what things we cannot change and give those to God because all things are possible with Him. The key here is to really give them to Him believing He will change these situations. “God is an ever present help in times of need.” Psalms 46:1
In another column we can write the things we can change and work on those, with or without God’s help.
And for those things we don’t know if we can change or if we should give them to God, we can ask God for "the wisdom to know the difference." He says He will give us that wisdom if we expect that He will give it to us. This is a promise given to us in James 1: 5-6 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
I have done this many times and have received the wisdom I’ve needed and He has helped me when I couldn’t change things myself. We don’t have to accept everything as it looks here on earth. We have a wonderful Father. We are to live by faith and not by sight and that means trusting Him to fix or get us through what we see as a problem.