Saturday, May 14, 2016
Seeing the Forrest Instead of the Trees
Is what has happened in your life the will of God?
It is perhaps a most difficult question to tackle and understand. Is the will of God a spinning gyre that runs smoothly towards its known conclusion or is it a bumpy chaotic descent into unrelated and unexplainable chaos? It is not a new notion to consider. There are the Calvinists on one hand and on the other the followers of Arminius. One side says that God knows the outcome and so moves all towards His irresistible will and grace. The other says it is our free will that determines the outcome and if we serve God, then things will be chosen that reflect that state.
There is a principle that is in the word of God that addresses this conundrum: we reap what we sow.
In my case, I am reaping a series of bad choices. I cannot stand before God one day with a clean mind and say I did all correctly and according to His will. No, far from that. But if we are to apply this principle, we need to ensure we go back far enough. We read the signs and markings along the way and take an objective measure of what is going on. This is what gives us the true measure of the reaping…when we started to sow. If we can find the origin of the path of a series of decisions, then we can gain perspective on how we have arrived where we are. One thing is for sure, the current location is not made by a decision that was made halfway down the path. Nope that inflection point you may be considering was the decision you made where you went wrong and that has brought you where you are may only be one of the points along the continuum of your point of origin. To use a ‘point in the middle’ is as bad as assessing your life at your current point. Why? Because if that point was bad to begin with, then the conclusion you will reach will be full of erroneous thoughts and feelings. You must try to find the point of origin.
After thinking about it, I started out in life and came to the realization that God was real and the Savior was calling me to Himself and that is what I consider any Christian’s point of origin. So what are the conditions when you started out with Christ? Well, if you think about it, they were the best of conditions. Your point of origin can be considered perhaps the purest location in your life. As life happens we move with a level of initiative but we do not move alone. God has sent His Spirit to teach, guide and even protect. When we are sensitive to Him, then the decisions we make are more likely to bring us back to the smooth track of the gyre of His will. It is when we do not listen, that is when the ride gets bumpy. Decisions that come after that may or may not be with the correct perspective. There is a lot of ourselves in any decision we make. Especially when it comes after a series of bad choices.
So you get the picture right? What we are reaping is compounded as we move along from a bad decision. So what is the answer? If we get off track, it sure seems like we never can get back on track. What a terrible state we are in aren’t we? No hope of return, no way back.
Friend, that is not at all the case. Look back again and find that worst decision you made and where it has brought you. I have found mine. It was the root of all of it. It was a move I never should have made, it was a job I never should have taken. This set into motion everything. Funny thing is there were plenty of warning signs that this was not where I should have been. I ignored the signs and pressed on. Reason? My youth and short sightedness. I can from that point reel off a series of events that has brought me to where I am. It was because of my passive nature, I let circumstances and others decide a path I was to walk. While they were all the while telling me, it was the will of God. So I believed and continued to ignore the signs. God did try to spare me a few times through situations I went through that temporarily wrested me from a bad decision and caused me to stop and think about the next step. Well, after a series of bad decisions, I made some along that same line. Yet the doubt and feeling that I was veering further away was ever growing. I had picked up speed down the bumpy descent into madness. There was no controlling it now, I was caught in the inertia of my own life. It was at that time, the fruit of my life was not confidence but an ever growing crop of doubt and fear. All the while the circumstances and others were telling me it was the evil crouching at the door. Funny how we can see the whispers of the Spirit of God as something foreign to us. My answer to that is, it depends how long the thread of our lives has unspooled from that first bad decision. There was no way out now. The door is shut. All the while the voices we are listening to are telling us to keep going, stop questioning and just keep going. So what can save us from that fate?
This is where the Good Shepherd steps in and wrests out of the lions mouth. The further down the road we have gone, the less there is to save. But rest assured, it is not yourself nor the voices of others who have brought the point of inflection where you veered off into the valley of bad decisions. No, far from it. You have been ripped from that which would have destroyed you. Does it hurt? Oh yes, sometimes the pain is unbearable. But the Hand that has brought you with His purpose to set you back on track. So what about the children along the way? Well again take personal responsibility. It is not their fault. They are products of your bad decision. You weren’t listening even when God shouted at you with a megaphone. In fact, your current pain may be their way of redemption.
So, if God intervenes along a bad path, it will hurt, you are reaping what you have sowed but the intent is to stench the blood, pour wine and oil in the wound and bandage you up and restore your perception of who God really is. He is the one who brought you to Himself, perhaps in the midst of a series of bad decisions. In short, He rescued you in the beginning, He has been with you in every bad decision and has pulled you from the lion’s mouth in the nick of time. For what purpose? To bring you back to His smooth track. Will there be bumps after that placing? Oh yes, we have to get used to his steerage again and the reaping from bad decisions doesn’t just disappear. The trick is to see them as what they are. They are fruit from a series of bad decisions..NOT His will. In all of the throes of life when we belong to Him, we will arc toward the path of His will. That is our comfort and our hope.
“I don't know if we each have a destiny, or if we're all just floating around accidental-like on a breeze. But I think maybe it's both. Maybe both are happening at the same time.” – Forrest Gump
And so it is.