Monday, February 07, 2011

Free Willing It

*This is a bit more raw than I usually let myself get here. You've been warned.*

I hate free will.

God gave us free will because He wants us to love Him of our own accord. He doesn’t want us to be puppets on a string. He wants us to come to Him and step into His will with willing hearts. And it breaks His heart when we don’t.

He has a plan for each of our lives but He wants us to follow Him because we want to. And things turn out better when we do.

I don’t make my own decisions. I haven’t for a long time. I know I’ll screw things up (and I manage to do a pretty good job of that even with trying to always give everything to God). More than that, I know that God is smarter than I am. I mean, duh. I don’t know everything; I can’t see the future. God does; He can. Also, He loves me unconditionally. The answer, to me, is pretty obvious.

I hate free will. I don’t want it. I know and love and trust my Lord enough that I know He knows better than I do. Often, I wish free will didn’t exist.

Why? Because, frankly, we’re stupid. We’re lazy and selfish. We’re sinners. We don’t know what’s good for us or what we really need. We’re cowards. We act like idiots and hurt people to whom we’re closest. We push people away. We don’t step up. We’re destructive and insensitive and cruel. We wallow in self-gratification rather than taking a chance on self-sacrifice. And in doing so, we’re blasphemous to the God who created us to live in loving relationships with each other. We’re our own worst enemies. (I'm including myself in this, by the way.)

Several of my nearest and dearest are hurting, despairing, brokenhearted, because of free will and being cruelly treated by people they loved and trusted. I am hurting. My heart is weary. I am fed up, frustrated, and questioning whether believing in someone is ever really worth it. All I want to be able to tell my little sisters, my family, my friends, is that it gets better. That people can change. That God can do it.

I’m being honest when I say that when it comes to questions of free will, I don’t know. I don’t have all the answers. I have faith in God. I’ve seen His miracles. I’ve heard His very voice and watched Him act. Immediately. In the moment. BAM! Miracle. If He’s taught me anything in the past year, it’s that He can do whatever He wants. Really.

But when it comes to people – when it comes to us making our own choices – I’m much less confident.

Prayer works. God moves. I know miracles can happen.

But because of free will, people have to be willing. Because of free will, I don’t know if or when people will change.

So that’s why I say it. I hate free will.

After stewing over this all morning and angrily banging out this rant just to get it out of my system, I stopped. I read it. I didn’t like the way it ended – hopelessly. With that one pithy and pitiful statement you see there. Didn’t seem to add up to someone who’s been in relationship with God for more than 20 years.

So I turned to the Bible (well, a Google search on Bible verses) and came upon this one, which I know so well and have used in prayer so many times: “Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” –James 5:13-16

OK, then. That’s what it says, so that’s what I’ll do. I’ll keep praying.

I still don’t like free will, though.