Free will does—and does not—work well
To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. — Revelation 21:6b
God could force us into a good, loving relationship with Him, but that absolutely controlled obedience would not be a relationship at all. Instead, God gifts us with free will.
Free will does—and does not—work well. Our choices, and the choices of others, can be amazingly beautiful. That’s good! Our choices can be agonizingly painful, and this, as you have seen firsthand, is bad. Often, this is so very bad.
My once content, fairly optimistic brother-in-law is one who can now speak to the painful part of humankind’s choices. After the sudden and tragic death of his handsome and talented 21-year-old son, my nephew, he says what is true: there is evil in the world.
There were choices that lead to that death. Some were innocuous, especially at first. Some weren’t terribly bad. Others leave scars that for those who loved my nephew will never close.
In the face of evil, we cry from the depths of our souls. “God! How could You let something like this happen?”
This begs a deeper question, one we often do not spend time considering. How do we want God to act? Do we want God to control the actions of people? For example, in the case of terrorism, what is an acceptable number of deaths for God to allow? A hundred? Ten? One? If God prevents the murder of even one victim, there is no longer freedom to choose.
People choose to ignore God, defy God, or go their own way. As we prepare for the fourth of the seven questions in this sermon series, the question to ask is not, “Where is God?” but, “Where are you in your choice of loving and listening to Him?”
PRAYER: Lord, help me realize how my choices can be truly good—or not good. Send me messengers that help me know the difference between the two, and continue to guard over all of us near saints and complete sinners so that Your love IS the difference between life and death. In Your Son’s name we pray, amen.