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I know that I am not a fatalist

June 14, 2010 1 comment

I have been thinking quite a bit about God’s will in my life in the last several months.  I have come to the conclusion that I am not a fatalist.  I do not believe that our lives are completely predetermined.

I truly believe in free will and that our choices matter.  I do not think that God has our entire lives mapped out from before we are born and we somehow must struggle to find our one true path in order to fulfill destiny.  I also do not believe that every choice that we make is between a “good” and an “evil” choice.  Sometimes, there are two good choices or two evil choices (in which, neither would be an appropriate choice).

My opinions on this have grown stronger through my own actions as a father.  Jesus asked if a father would give his son a stone when he asked for bread and how much more does the Father give good gifts?  Yes, I know that God is all knowing but if He wants us to ask, then doesn’t that mean that what we want matters to Him?  Not in a “Oh, Lord, I need a fishing boat” sorta way, mind you.  However,  I know that when my children express interest in something that could be good for them, I am willing to explore it and if they have a passion for it, I will do anything in my power to help them.  We have driven for hours so that my girls could spend minutes doing gymnastic routines and will probably do the same for my son in baseball if his passion stays remotely as strong as it is at the ripe age of 6.  We have bought art kits and help turn items that were never meant to be part of a craft project into just that because one of the kids had a creative idea that we saw as good.  We do these things because our children have a passion or desire for something and as their parents, we want them to do what is both good for them and what they enjoy.  Doesn’t it stand to reason that God wants the same for us?  That may be oversimplifying things quite a bit.  Obviously, what we want needs to be pleasing to God in the same way that what my children want must be pleasing to me.  Just because my son could be real passionate about sitting on the couch and watching television hours on end and his oldest sister may be passionate (and talented) about tormenting him and his other sister, I am most certainly not going to allow those things, let alone encourage them.

If I am wrong, then why do we have free will?  Why would  we have varying talents and passions?  Why would we have such abilities to dream?

Before I go off on another trail or get way too deep, I should wrap this up and leave deeper thoughts on this for another day.  What do you think?  Let me know.

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Half Blind

June 4, 2010 Leave a comment

I’ve had medical eye problems since I was 21 years old.  Considering the fact that my family’s medical history reads like the annuls of the New England Journal Of Medicine, it’s a small cross to bear.  I have to put drops in my eyes every day.  I had cataracts removed at age 31. No big deal,really.  I have had bee stings that hurt worse than cataract surgery.  Last week, things were different.  Things had never been this cloudy before.  A quick trip to my eye doctor and it was determined that I would need to see a retina specialist because the inflammation was in the rear of the eye.  Again, no big deal.  I was expecting to get a shot in the back of the eye and go about my business.  Tuesday morning, I was hit with the news that my retina was 2/3 detached and it was getting worse.  7 hours later, I’m full of happy juice while the doctor cuts and ties, flattens and squeezes my eye back into shape.  Still no big deal, right?  Pain meds are good.  I will be fine.

The doctor comes in post op and explains that all went well but there is one problem.  Because of where the tear occurred, in order to have a chance of using my right eye again, I will need to keep my head down facing the floor with almost no break for one to two weeks.  This is a big deal.  You see until now, all the outcome was out of my hands.  I can promise you that after two and a half days of this, the complications from leaning forward far outweigh any post op pain or discomfort.  I don’t say this to garner sympathy (although I do like cookies) but rather to explore the comparison of this to our spiritual and mental responses to our condition.

Today, the technician in the office said that some people do not follow the doctor’s orders and their retina detaches days after the surgery.  Tanya could not believe that people would do that.  I can.  I have to purposely make the choice to do something that will cause back pain, neck strain and headaches for over a week.  I can make the pain go away simply by sitting up straight.  I have to choose.  My family has to put up with this big baby that is staring at the floor all day.  But if I just sit up, the pain will go away.  All it will cost me is a blind right eye for the rest of my life.

There was actually one moment where, based totally on current feelings, it was almost worth the cost of the vision to have relief from the pressure in my head.  But James said that to know what is good and to not do it is sin.  If I had given in to my weakness, I would regret it for the rest of my life.  I’m only 36, so I plan on it being around a long time.  My wife has been able to provide the decades long perspective when I’m stuck on the moment.

For the moment, my head is clear and this has made me think about how our life choices affect us and many times, and we do not realize it.  It’s nice to know the consequences.  Keep your head up and be half blind.  Life choices, however, are not usually so clear for us.  It is often said that we cannot choose our circumstances, only our response to them.  The clear lesson for me is that our choices matter.  My doctor could be the world’s expert on retinal reattachment but he cannot make me keep my head down.

We are quick to cry out to God when faced with something tough.   We want God to make life be like a McDonalds drive thru.  I want a number 3 with sweet tea.  Extra ketchup.  Many of you reading this will have varied opinions of God, but think about this.  Do you know a God that controls and manipulates you or do you know a God that gives you free will?  My God let’s me make mistakes.  I have to choose to do what is right.  I have to choose to look past the current and examine the costs of my decision.  After this incident, I will pay even closer attention to those choices because I don’t want to go through life half blind, physically, mentally, or spiritually.