Christmas Song Blog Day 13 – Strange Way to Save the World
Today’s news is once again overwhelming. The horror of Allepo, the insanity of Trump’s nominees, the continued lack of action and outrage over a foreign government undermining our national sovereignty, and yet everyone seems to be hung up on Kayne West visiting Trump Tower. I want to scream, “Eye on the freaking ball people.”
Have I mentioned I’m struggling a little bit this holiday season? I am. I just don’t understand the world we live in. I heard a guy say today that everything happens for a reason and God must have a plan. I wanted to say, “What if the reason is that people are horrible, and the plan is to let us face the consequences of our actions?”
You see, platitudes like that don’t work for me because I don’t believe that’s how God works. I don’t think of God as some puppet master up there in heaven pulling all our strings. I think of God as a creator, loving and kind, who gave us an example of how to live in Jesus, and gave us the guidance of the Holy Spirit to help us along the way, but who also gave us free will to make our own choices no matter how heinous they may be. Free will is not actually free will unless humans can chose the worst possible option. If God let us choose between only doing good and doing great, that would be limited will, and no choice would ever be a true choice. You cannot choose to follow God unless you also have the choice not to.
But does that mean we’re just on our own now? Are we alone to reap what we’ve sown? You could hardly blame God for that. And yet I don’t think that’s quite true either, or at least it hasn’t been true to my experiences. I said earlier I don’t think of God as a puppet master, but I don’t think of God as remote, either. Honestly, if you need a metaphor, my view of God is closest to that of the woman on my GPS. I know that sounds a little irreverent, but it works for me because her goal is always the same. The address of my destination was entered at my birth. It’s God’s address, or at least the one that gets me closest to God. And my GPS woman, she tells me how to get there. Only sometimes I don’t listen. Sometimes I make a wrong turn by accident. Sometimes I take a detour of my own choosing. Sometimes I think I know a shortcut and try to take it. I believe that at each turn I make the God GPS sigh and say, “Recalculating.” And God does. God finds the new best route from wherever I am in that moment. It might add time and miles to the trip, but God always find a route back to the path I was supposed to be on.
This method is not efficient. It’s highly individualized and leaves endless room for human error. It doesn’t made for easy planning, and it doesn’t offer one-size-fits-all answers. And honestly sometimes I’m not sure it’s working at all. But I do know that no matter where we go or what we do or how far we wander off the path set before us, God has seen worse. God has found people in worse places and situations and still managed to use them for good. No, I don’t believe that God ordained the problems we are having. I don’t think God planned for the worst to happen, but I do believe that God can work a plan to get us out. It not be easy or clean or pretty or fun, but it is possible, and thankfully we have Christmas to prove that. If God can take a helpless, vulnerable baby in a run-down town teeming with masses of humanity under foreign occupation and turn all that into a story of hope and love and salvation, then God can undoubtedly work miracles here and now, too.
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