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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Choices, Consequences, and God's Providence.

copyright 2013I cannot prove empirically how God's providence is part of my life nor can I deny it. From a mere human perspective it appears that the choices I have made are mine alone and no one else's. But as I think of the important decisions and choices I've made throughout life, I find too many that seem suspicious to be solely an act of my hand. When I made those decisions, frankly, I didn't consult God as much. I just acted using my best judgment. Oh yes, I guess here is where we get into philosophical and theological discussions of what is our role and what is God's role in our decision making. How do they happen? Who has control, God or myself? Does he accommodate to me or do I just followed a path he has already decreed? How do my decisions and choices affect the outcome of what He has decreed for me? I really don't have a good answer.

Well, this has gotten too philosophical already and I have offered no real examples. But I wonder if I should. Alright I will be personal and offer a few. First in line is my decision to leave a tenured job as a teacher for an uncertain one. I was done with my fourth year of teaching and decided that I wanted to work closer to home. So I took a year off and worked as a sub for a district close to home. Only a few days before I had to submit my intent to go back I got an offer from the district closer to home. But this decision would take an me in an unintended path. It lead me to two districts, one charter school and a private school but never became tenured again. Looking back I must have made the wrong choice but when I think of the people I've met, the lives changed, the friendship forged, then I see it couldn't have been all of my decision. Yes, it can be rationally explained but I know God's guiding hand was involved.

Then there is the decision to leave ministry after six years and spend the next decade just teaching. I know the decision was the right one but looking back it seems that I wasted the years thereafter. But did I? I did have more time to spend with my family. This is also where the crisis of my faith happened. And yet I know God used this time to refine me and prepare me for what He has for me in the near future.

I could go on with more examples. What I do know is that I belong to God. I am his. He is there and not passive nor silent. Everything I do is in his care not outside of his care. When I think back of those decisions (and the domino effect of them), I second guess them but then I see the outcome. It just seems too much of a coincidence to leave God out. Some of those decisions were not easy and some have brought consequences that I would trade for ones that follow the status quo. Sometimes I speak to people whose lives have being lived with such steadiness that it makes me wonder whether that is even a good path. I cannot judge them for God does not work the same with everyone. But as for me I know my shepherd and he knows me. I am secured in His hand. He guides me in his path and when I don't, He restores me. He is always with me. He comforts me. Someday I will be in his house forever!

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