The arrival of May got me thinking about the seasons. The weather changes, but the seasons remain the same, year after year, century after century. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter. Predictable. Unfailing. We have been talking about the lies we believe about God and this reminded me of another one: He is capricious and unpredictable.
In a world that believes in the surety of science–that seasons, the sunrise, electricity, gravity, and everything else scientific is predictable and unchanging–it seems odd that we would think the Creator of all this precision would be any less orderly.
Such a notion must come from observing the seemingly randomness of life. Going through a day, we can’t imagine the things we will encounter. No two days are the same. Joys and tragedies come. Anything can happen.
But is that proof of God’s unpredictability, His fickle nature?
I say no.
There is a common view of God in which He acts as puppet master, controlling everything. He arises every day, sets His sights on a few lucky or unfortunate individuals and rains down blessings or curses as a sign of the His mercurial nature. If your number is up, His mood for the day will determine your outcome. No escape.
But, when God made Adam and Eve and placed them in the Garden of Eden, he gave them dominion over themselves and the world (Genesis 1:28). Merriam-Webster.com defines dominion as ruling or controlling power. He put them in charge of themselves and the earth. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He declares a thing and He will do it (Isaiah 46:11). He sets the standard of godliness. His word says a man like Him, “keeps his promises no matter what the cost (Psalm 15:4 CEV) and so He does. He has never taken away our free will.
Everything was created with certain characteristics conforming to laws and patterns. In the case of man, God says that we were created in in His image. We are like God in that we have choice and autonomy. Because we live in a world full of autonomous people, we will run into difficulties.
Billions of people, billions of thoughts, billions of interactions every day. If we could trace the seemingly random occurrences in our lives back to the seeds of their beginning, we would know with certainty that the present circumstance was inevitable, not random.
Jesus said that in this world we would have trouble but that He has overcome the world (John 16:33). Yes, even if you do your best to act in wise and loving ways, your path will cross one that is on a collision course with disaster and it will affect your life, but God has a plan for your redemption.
If the actions and decisions of others effect the course of our lives, perhaps the choice with the most far-reaching results was Jesus’s choice to come to earth, live as a perfect, sinless man and to die a criminal’s death on the cross to pay the price for our sins, cancelling our debt and saving us for all time.
The moment of his death changed everything. If our circumstance, options, and choices intersect with those of others, this was the most monumental intersection of all time, affecting every man, woman, and child who has ever lived. How we view this sacrifice lays the groundwork for everything else.
In the Old Testament, God explained there are consequences to our beliefs and behaviors. He sums up His discourse to the Israelites by describing the consequences of their choice either to go their own way or to love and obey Him. He laid out a choice, not a mandate, but He urged them, “Choose Life! (Deuteronomy 30:19).”
God will not control you. You cannot possibly know enough to control every aspect of your own life. But you can choose to love and obey God. In doing so, all your circumstances will, predictively, come to the best possible end.
Where has your life intersected with God’s love?