I’ve taken up the task of sitting still and listening to a few more chapters in the audiobook “Eat, Love, Pray” by Elizabeth Gilbert. Just 2 minutes into it I hear 7 very powerful words...”It was never not going to happen”.
There are certain events or moments in your life that God has preordained...things completely out of your control like the passing of a parent or a child. Those things which God has deemed necessary - to happen to you, because of you, for you...things which sometimes happen in order to help transform you into the person you were created to be. As Elizabeth says “It was never not going to happen”. This, whatever “this” is, would happen no matter what you said or did, or didn’t say or didn’t do. However, I feel the idea of pre ordained events has nothing to do with the whole “decision making process” that God has left in our incapable hands.
I make every effort to not be sucked into the “what if” scenarios of my life, which admittedly bad decision making can bring about. But when I write out thoughts like this it’s fair for me to admit that sometimes...sometimes there is a part of me which desperately wants to ask God on the day I die - show me what my life would have been like had I made the “right” choices. And my heart physically aches at the possibilities - and I’m gently reminded why playing the “what if” game burdens my heart and mind with unnecessary things - then to borrow a phrase...“He smiles because he is the one who has already been shown the answers to every test in the universe and can say - everything is working perfectly Caryn”
And God reminds me that He redeems all things - Titus 2:14...”who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”
- to save...us from even our best of intentions
- to compensate...for the defects of man
- to be free from blame...and the weight of sin
- to make restitution...for what perfect thing has been lost
- to retrieve...that which is missing or would make us incomplete
- to exchange...so that we have what is new and good and right
- to honor...the covenant He made with us
- to fulfill...the prophecies and purpose for all things
- to make good...those things which we have compromised or made bad
Bad decisions most times will mean “paying the consequences”, processing what has changed and how, then purposefully getting back into your life...back on the path...in alignment with his will...under the protection of his wing. It’s almost never easy, but it’s always worth it...and if we draw near to Him, he will draw near to us.
The fact is, there are many paths that we will take in our lifetime - Psalm 23:3...”He leads me in the paths of righteousness”. God made that word plural, not me. And guess what...they all come back to good - ...”for His name’s sake”.
I'm a concordance junkie just so you know. I came alive when I finally understood what a concordance was and how it helps to understand the Word of God. So let's dig a little deeper and look at some of the key words in the verse...
Paths is from the Hebrew word agol which means to revolve, circular, round. First, the word revolve denotes action - to move. To be on something round means that the start and end points are at the same place - I start with God and the intention is that I end with God. I don’t picture that word as a treadmill or gerbil wheel, but rather an ant farm.
Righteousness has always been a tough word for me to wrap my head around. It has such a holy sound to it. The word tasdaq simply means to be right. It’s a process of justice - to be made right. So God intends all things that He allows to come into our lives to be made right either by a correct response (making the right decision) by us, OR if we fail (making the wrong decision) HE will cause all things to be made right.
Sake is from the Hebrew word maan which means purpose. So why are all things redeemed or made right? So that all things will work out according to His plan & purpose. To spite our flaw-full human nature, the God of Revelation 21 will triumph!!
So what do I think the good news is in "preordained" and in "freewill decision making"?
Preordained does not have to mean sadness. It’s an opportunity to CHOOSE TO SEE goodness happening - trials are things which help to burn away the unnecessary, unworthy, useless and harmful things of life. They are chances to respond correctly and to be rewarded greatly.
And walking the right path - using our freewill to say “God, whatever you have planned for me is for my good and intended for good & it will always be better than my imagination on its best day. I choose to respond correctly or accept your discipline”. Well here’s what Isaiah says the good news in that is...
Isaiah 41:31 “But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
We’re now two days into a new year. May you sincerely consider the path you take and the decisions you make. May you always remember that life is a chance to see the good that God is doing and to be part of it - be fully present in your life this year!