Up until a couple of days ago I used to placate myself with the philosophy that everything happens for a reason. I used to accept and deal with both disappointment and joy on this philosophy – it worked for me when things went my way, and it helped soothe me when I didn’t get what I wanted. What a good little christian I am. Or Am I?
But the dilemma is this – As a coach/teacher I often have to make decisions that my athletes/students don’t/won’t/can’t understand or appreciate. Now most parents have the same struggle with their kids. And postulating I believe God has the same struggle with us/me. So I get that point – I wont always understand why some things happen and others don’t. Having thrown myself out to his whims long ago, I accept that wholeheartedly.
The problem comes when we misinterpret the tools God throws our way to help us build up to our dreams and goals. Of late I’ve often been reminded by the story of the man who was sitting on his roof while there was a flood. At first his neighbor came by in a boat and offered help. To which the man replied, “No thanks, God will save me.” Later another neighbor boat came by to offer assistance and to which the man again replied, “No thanks, God will save me.” The man is eventually swept away in the flood and dies. At the Gates of St. Peter the man confronts god and asked why he did not save him. To which God replies, “My son, I sent two boats to rescue you, what more do you want of me?”
The moral of the story is that God makes a lot of the decisions for us. But he doesn’t make every decision for us. The gift of free will allows us to make our own choices, and to use whatever comes our way. So my new philosophy of “if you really want something, you will do whatever you can to get it.” is probably the most appropriate philosophy I can use at this point in time. Much like a petulant child I frequently adjust my operating system to suit my needs at the time.
If God wants it to happen, he will help me achieve my goal. If he doesn’t, well I probably wont achieve it will I, but at least I’m going to learn something along the way – either about me, or about Him. General MacArthur’s Fathers Prayer said it best
Lead him I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge. Here let him learn to stand up in the storm; here let him learn compassion for those who fail…..Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength.
Then, I, his father, will dare to whisper, have not lived in vain.