Sunday, October 19, 2014

God's Foolhardy Grace

Free Will.” I am learning so much these days as a temporary parent, with a son on loan from God and from his earthly mother. I don't even want to think about the Pre-destination vs. Free Will debate right now. I have no doubt that Psalms 46:10 and 11 are true and that God is sovereign: “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” We can indeed cease and desist from striving, from effort, from works and quiet our hearts before the King of the Universe, knowing that He will be glorified, that He will be exalted – because He is God, and we are not.

However, at the same time I am blown away more and more each day by the incredible freedom that God allows to operate in, with His permission and within that all-encompassing sovereignty. He truly does want our love, and not our obligatory service. I can give my “son” advice, I can set down rules and consequences... but his grudging and dark-faced obedience is not what makes me happy. On the contrary, it breaks my heart. I don't want his reluctant service or his conformity – I want his heart. I want to see him able to make the best (and hardest) choices for himself. Choices to love, to toss fear out the window, choices to deny himself, to give to others, to be considerate and kind, to seek his Heavenly Father and His will with all his heart. And the only way those choices are valid is if he is the one making them – not me. So there are times that I don't insist... I make my desires known... then give him freedom to make a decision, knowing that I may worry and ache when I see him choosing what will eventually bind him instead of freeing him.


But the alternative is miserable and multiple times worse. Forcing his hand, forcing his obedience, constraining him through punishment, shame and manipulation to conform to my will – these only breed anger, rebellion and push him farther and farther away from the ultimate goal, which is his true freedom to choose love. And I see more clearly each day how God has given man the dangerous and heart-wrenching freedom to choose Him or to deny Him. And I am starting to feel how His holy and loving Father's heart must ache when He sees his children run helter-skelter away from Him toward their own (and even others') destruction. But the other option is impossible for a God who desires our very hearts and selves, free and able to choose what is for His glory not just our own comfort or pleasure, what is loving, what is bold, what is based on trust in His love for us – not our forced obedience, nor our dark-faced service. God gives us a ridiculously long leash and is absurdly patient with us, preferring a few that see and choose to return His prodigal love, even if it means leaving others to shipwreck their lives on the rocks of rage and selfishness. He prefers to permit the consequences of our terrible decisions in the world, instead of Divinely and irrevocably insisting that we all obey unquestioningly ... and involuntarily.

Thoughts? I'd love your wisdom too - I for sure feel super un-prepared for this!

Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?”

Romans 2:4