Tag Archives: free will

Where there’s a will there’s a way

Certainly, you’re familiar with this phrase, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

It speaks to the power of our will and intellect to persevere in trouble, to carry on , press forward, forge a way around an obstacle, go the distance, stay the course, stand firm, and to determinedly leave no stone left unturned in our quest for the discovery and achievement of our highest goals.

It’s called “free will” because God allows us to exercise this gift in the manner of our own choosing. I Wonder, does the idea of free will amaze or confound you, or both? Imagine the leader of an army suiting you up and equipping you for warfare and then saying, “You can fight for me or fight for the enemy…it’s your choice.” Or try to conjure up the image of a businessman who hires employees and tells them they are free to work for and give trade secrets to the competition. Imagine a major league ball pitcher who deliberately throws away a pitch allowing the other team to score the winning run. Absurd, isn’t it? It seems to us that giving us free will would be a horrible strategy to waging war, building a business, or winning the game.

But as we all know (though often argue against), God’s ways ARE higher than ours. His economy is different from ours. It fits in with his paradoxical view of the first being last and finding strength in weakness. He could have made us to be worship robots who were obliged to obey his every command. Maybe you’ve sometimes asked him to do to just that. “Take away my selfish thoughts or this persistent sin and MAKE me wholly yours, O Lord!” Instead he gives us the choice to go his way or our own. Whether it’s in choosing a president or choosing the bed where we lie down, God lets us “have it our way” if we insist on that course of action.

And what an incredible gift that is! The gift of free will also allows me the power to see things differently and rise above my circumstances. It gives me a new perspective. I didn’t get to choose whether or not cancer came to my door, but I do get to choose how I respond to it. You have the same choice. See a problem or see an opportunity,  not only to accomplish something or persevere through a tough situation. More than that, every problem is an opportunity to trust God.

We can choose to trust God or ignore him, follow his proven ways or venture off on our own prideful paths, find peace in all circumstances or choose to live in turmoil and anxiety. We can choose our own destiny including where we spend eternity and how much victory we want to experience in this life. We make hundreds of choices every single day that either affirm our faith in God and the good will he freely offers or to deny God’s purposeful and benevolent involvement in our lives – to “have it my way” or follow The Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Choose wisely, my friend. Give Jesus a chance to shape your will to look like his.

What you water grows

In The Journey of August King, the main character is telling a run a way slave girl about his now dead wife.
August: In the last two years it was kind of like we forgot about each other.
Annalees: Did you love her?
August: I guess I did because I miss her so much.

It was kind of like we forgot about each other. Have you ever found yourself feeling that way about someone you once cared so very much for? I’ve heard people say, “We grew apart,” or “I was holding her (him) back.” The truth is, most of us have experienced times, perhaps seasons, when we have been less than totally invested in a relationship. And yet we all know one of life’s deep secrets: “What you water, grows.” Relationships need watering and nurturing. They need sunlight and air to breathe.

This is true of our relationship with God too. It grows when we nourish it. It withers when we ignore it. It was not just that the people of God rebelled against him time after time. They neglected to thank Him for his provision and protection. They just kept forgetting He was there…until they needed him again. Have you ever felt that way? That you had drifted away and any thoughts of God had faded away to the nether regions of your mind? In His place, you had surrendered your priorities to so very many other things? Or maybe you regularly give God a piece of your time and energy, but you’ve not discovered the sustaining joy of giving Him your all? I wonder if this is actually the most common experience of all men and women. It is not that we find ourselves against God; we just forget about Him for awhile, and sometimes very long whiles.

There is a cure for this and we shouldn’t mistake its simplicity for its power: Draw close. It has been said that you can walk a thousand steps away from God, turn around and find Him just one step away. How is that possible? Because He is always pursuing you, so great is His love. I wish that were always true of human relationships. We are all agents of free will, able to extend or withdraw the hand of love to those who pull away from us. Some say the greatest things in life are to love and to be loved. Even when someone else withholds love, what sense does it make to throw away the opportunity to keep extending love? Never give up on love.

What you water grows, in you and in others. Water love and it blossoms somewhere. Water neglect and it spreads all over like weeds. Wherever there is opportunity, commit yourself to loving well. Grow ever closer to God and you will find more and more opportunities and abilities to grow closer to others in your life.