Tuesday, September 22, 2009

To be or not to be? That really is the question...

Well, apparently my kids are not as funny to everyone else as they are to me. I am still chuckling about that picture from my last post, but it seems like not as many people enjoyed it as much as I did. That’s okay, I forgive you for not laughing at my kids. I mean, I guess they can’t just be the cutest thing in the world ALL the time…just most of the time, maybe? :) Thanks to those of you who did write a caption, my thoughts were, “Exactly!” That’s what I was thinking too!

Anyway, I have something on my mind. I don’t often write personal things, thoughts about what I am thinking about or dealing with, so maybe this will be a total flop and you will all hate me and never read my blog again. I also don’t often write about my wonderings concerning God, it’s a touchy subject and I don’t like to make people mad.

But maybe you won’t hate me and you will actually have some good insight, thoughts, or an experience that you would like to share to help me make up my darn mind.

And maybe you will still read my blog. Maybe.

Here is my struggle, and I know this is a huge issue with lots of different aspects, but here is what is on my mind anyway today. I don’t believe that God orchestrates every part of our lives. Ah! Don’t hate me already. But, for example, I don’t think that there is “the one” person that God has picked out for each one of us to marry. That creates way too many problems. I think there are lots of good options and that whoever you end up choosing to marry becomes the right one. You can really make it work with almost anyone who is living a healthy lifestyle, it will just be a lot easier to make it work with some (personality, beliefs, and lifestyle-wise) than with others. I don’t believe that God is planning on me living at a certain address at a certain date in time with an exact number of kids and that I have to figure out that plan and how to make it work. I don’t believe that God has any sort of exact plan for my life and that I have to make sure I find it and make sure I don't mess it up.

HOWEVER. Sometimes things seem so downright ironically, incidentally, and amazingly coincidental that it seems like there must be some things that God brings together on purpose. It very much seems like something are the “right” circumstance or happening. And that makes me wonder. For example, there have been times where I can see that God has taken care of us in very specific ways. Certain things happening on certain days followed by results that would make a person wonder, “It almost seems like God had exactly planned that out, down to the day/time/ect.” But how does that fit into Him not planning out my life down to the exact letter?

I have two circumstances in my life right now that I can’t actually explain in detail here today. I would have to write a short story/essay that would be several pages long. However, it seems like one circumstance is very God orchestrated with ironically coincidental timing. The other appears to just be a decision that must be made, but it leaves me wondering if there is a “right” or “better” part of that decision that I just can't see. It seems like a situation where there should be "God's timing", but it’s just like a tossup. It seems like if it is true that God has cause this other part of my life to come about the way that it has, that it should follow that it would apply to just more than that part. Doesn’t it?

Oh, man. I feel like asking myself, with the same drama that Tryn portrayed the other night when I told her we were going to get in the car, “Oh my gosh, Mom, what are you thinking?” I have no idea. Any thoughts? We could try to have a discussion in the comments section here if people are so inclined...

12 comments:

The Stephens said...

I by no means have the answers to all these ponderings, but I have had many thoughts in the past couple years in regard to God "causing" bad things to happen. While I firmly believe that God's hand is on my life, that He works in all circumstances, and that He loves me intimately, I do not believe that God "causes" all things to happen. Therefore, I would tend to agree with you--some things just happen. And, I would tend to agree with you--God works and bring circumstances in our lives. He's not up there playing pool letting us just "figure life out on our own", but he's not throwing down lightening beams either. That's my two-cents.

Heidi said...

I definitely agree with that. I don't believe that God causes bad things to happen either because of sin or what have you, but then does he cause good things if he doesn't cause bad things? So it's just a mix? Sometimes he causes good things and sometimes good things just happen? Or sometimes things happen and they are not cause or uncaused, they are just there? Then how does God choose what things to work in and what things to leave alone?

Quadruple Life said...

Woah. Big stuff ladies! :)

And now I'm going to be the "bad" guy. I DO believe that God is the ultimate causer—of both good and bad things. I have seriously wrestled with this as I, like millions of others (and you!) have experienced BAD things in my life (some of which are on-going) and I regularly have to ask myself, how could a good God cause or even allow THIS? But again and again I am forced back to the verse in Ecc.

Ecclesiastes 7:14 (New American Standard Bible)
In the day of prosperity be happy, But in the day of adversity consider-- God has made the one as well as the other So that man will not discover anything that will be after him."

Sometimes the things that break my heart and my life into tiny pieces are the very things that draw me close to my Savior. I define the painful as "bad" and the non-painful as "good." But that is not always in accordance with the big picture. Now of course there are things that Sin has twisted and are truly evil . . . but God can use, turn, transform, and work through these things too—if He could not then there would be certain things that existed outside His grasp and he would not be God.

Does he orchestrate every circumstance and every decision? (The decussion of free will), or perhaps the more appropriate question is, does He draw us toward Himself with loving kindness into relationship, which then influences our decisions?

Yikes!!! I feel like this is a coffee conversation! :)

Either way . . . there's my two cents. Spend it or toss it at will! ;)

—beth

omabear said...

Verses to ponder on......

"I know, O Lord, that a man's life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps."
- JEREMIAH 10:23-
"In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord
determines his steps."
-PROVERBS 16:9-
"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails."
-PROVERBS 19:21-
A man's steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way?"
-PROVERBS 20:24-

..... or how about this one....

" SHALL I NOT DRINK THE CUP THE FATHER HAS
GIVEN ME ?"
-JOHN 18:11b-

... are "WE" ALL ready to fall on our KNEES at THE FOOT of THE CROSS and say......

" THE LORDS WILL BE DONE."
-ACTS 21:14b-

" YET NOT WHAT I WILL, BUT WHAT YOU WILL."
-MARK 14:36b-

... are "WE" WILLING to say...

" Where YOU LEAD, I WILL FOLLOW...."

We need to KEEP our "HEARTS" -WIDE OPEN-

We need to STAY "TEACHABLE" and "CORRECTABLE"

We need to ENTER "OBEDIENCE" (By FAITH) To The
LEADING of THE SPIRIT

... and I believe the road will be smoother.... with not so many boulders in the way....


MAY you, HEIDI and STEVE, and your CHILDREN, BE BLESSED BEYOND MEASURE IN JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD :)

Kayla said...

I think on of my teachers at YWAM said it best... God knows everything there is to be known, but you still have a choice that can change everything. He said that God can give you a choice, once you make the decision, God knows, but you have to decide first. God can lead you, guide you, tell you what he wants you to do and it's up to you if you want to listen. God can always work in whatever situation that he has before him, but our choices can alter the outcome.

Kristy said...

I just skimmed over the previous comments, so I'm not replying to the discussion going on here, but what your blog said.

I tend to agree with you about "pre-destination" which of course is so controversial. The bible says we have free-will, if everything was ultimately predestined that would kind of defeat the purpose of free-will. Through our choices God works, and I think the point is where your heart is. God knows your heart, and I believe he probably knows the choice your going to make because he knows your heart. With that being said, I think sometimes when we're faced with choices, there isn't necessarily always a wrong and a right choice. I think if we make the choice with a heart after God and our ultimate desire is him in our choice, it's a good choice.

To adress the comment about things happening for a reason- I believe God knows our situations, our life, our choices, and God providing certain things at certain times just proves that he is God and he can do anything- if we trust him. When we think we have no other options, or we don't know how we're going to make it, he provides and in the way he does things sometimes just is a way of saying "Hey, this is from me. I will take care of you. Remember that." We are instructed to trust, have faith, pray in all things, and to follow after God's own heart.

Okay, that's what I have for now. My mind is a little fried today so I hope I made sense... I may re-read this later and think...gosh, that's not what I intended to say, or, man, that sounded more insightful in my head. But forgive me...i seem to be having this pregnancy-brain-thing going on the last few days.

Liz B said...

Whatever you are facing personally has obviously stimulated these hard questions and so now you search. It is easy to get stuck trying to understand the minute details of life...(how he orchestrates circumstances.) I've found that it is in these things that he shows me he is GOD. Being a mom is by far the hardest task that has been put before me. Timing...who can understand...what is a 24 hour day? All I know is that I need to continually ask for a heart that "prays continually and GIVES THANKS in ALL circumstances."

Heidi said...

Ooo! I have fallen behind a little! To go back to Beth's comment, yes, I do believe that God is very relational and all about drawing us closer to him. My interpretation of that verse from Ecc. is a little different though. In my opinion it is talking about the "days" specifically and that God has made all days, the ones that have good things and the ones that have bad things - but each "day" is something God has given us.

In response to some of the other posts, I do 100% also believe that God cares about the details of my life and knows what is going on and is "in" all that. However, with the fact of these two different circumstances in my life, one going so well and seemingly orchestrated and the other not going so well I am feeling like I might be missing something. Does God care more about one than the other? Am I just missing something on the other? It's not like "doors have been close", they just haven't been thrown wide open either...

Kristy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kristy said...

I just saw this picture in my head when I read your last comment, may be silly but here it goes:

Think of one big door with several little doors (like little windows) all over ...sometimes several of those small "doors" are open, giving you a glimpse of what is through the door. But then half get closed. There's still several open, but is there a reasons the others have been shut?

Or sometimes only one little window is open in the whole door, and you just get a little glimpse of what's on the other side. But instead of waiting for other little doors to open to feel more confident about the choice, it just requires a step of faith?

Ask for peace about whatever decisions you're trying to make. And if other people are involved in the decision, ask God to give them peace and direction as well.

Opabear said...

I think it is wonderful that you can share yourself like this and that you have so many wonderful friends and relatives with such insight that are willing to share their thoughts.

Here's mine (though they may not be wonderful):

God knows everything, he's God. I don't believe that makes him "cause" everything. John 1:7 states "...so that through him all men might believe." To me this says he wants all men to believe. If he "caused" everything to happen he would "cause" all men to believe since that is what he desires. Why would he "cause" them not to choose him if he desires that they do choose him. I believe he gives us many choices at times, some of which are "better" than others, but he lets us choose. If we ask for his guidance and we don't let our own selfish desires get in the way (sometimes we ask, but don't really want the answer because we know what we want and only ask because we're "supposed to"), that is what God wants from us. To trust him and rely on him. Not to trust ourselves or others (though he uses others to help us) for guidance.
Listen for God's wisdom and trust him when you feel you have His answer. Then move forward and continue to trust him, even if from your perspective it didn't "work out right." From God's perspective it may have worked out just like he wanted it.

Opabear

lhassler said...

Heidi, I just moved this week, so I haven't been reading blogs as consistently as usual. I spent 9 months in a fellowship program really wrestling with this question. Frankly, I agree with your consensus, I think.

I am convinced that God has given us a certain "playground" in which we are to play. He doesn't always dictate which specific equipment we are to play on at all times, he simply wants us to enjoy the implements he has given us.

There are a couple of authors who really think about this stuff well, if you're interested. Dallas Willard is wonderful. His book The Divine Conspiracy is quite good. He's got some others, too, which I'm blanking on at the moment. Similarly, Dorothy Sayers is fantastic. I'm really proud of you for wrestling with these questions and talking through it with your audience.