Free Will and Divine Intervention

Disclaimer: The title for this post is a bit (or a lot) ambitious. I won’t be exploring these ideas in depth – just a few thoughts.

A friend and mentor posted a blog entry today that paralleled some of my own recent musings beautifully. The gist (please don’t hesitate to correct me if this doesn’t sound accurate, Crystal) is that while God certainly is involved and present in our lives, she doesn’t think he actively leads us to or shows us every single specific thing we should do. A short excerpt (read the rest here):

“Perhaps God presents each of us with a similar opportunity every day. I want you to partner with me to build my kingdom. If you’re genuinely excited about that, look around, see the needs, and give of yourself and your resources in the ways that seem good to you.”

I agree with her wholeheartedly. I usually do, but even when I suspect that I might disagree, I can’t for the very life of me come up with a well-reasoned response. 🙂  Anyway, my own thoughts have been along the same lines lately, but pertaining to giving thanks to God. I tend to be an over-thanker, if such a thing is possible. Please don’t misunderstand – I believe that we should show God our gratitude in everything we do. An example to clarify: I am late for work and searching for a missing shoe. When I find it, I say a quick “thank you for helping me find that shoe, God.” Now, did God really tune in and see that I needed that shoe to get out the door and cause me to look in the right place? Maybe, but not necessarily. I think that God does sometimes directly intervene, but not always. As a parent, I don’t expect my kid to thank me every time something goes well for her. However, I would happily accept her gratitude for giving her the skills and knowledge necessary to get there (I know, wishful thinking, right?). But maybe that is what I should be thanking God for, too. Upon further reflection, I realize that I never say “gee, God, I’m really glad you gave me the capacity to be lazy and messy and lose that shoe in the first place.” But shouldn’t I?

Suddenly, this becomes about free will. This issue agitates me. I do not understand free will. But a creature with choices is not stationary or static and for that I am grateful. We are ever choosing, changing, maturing. God allows us to test him, which makes our eventual connection with him and love for him so much stronger. Our choices, experiences and feelings can help build a foundation for true and complete acceptance of God.

PS- On my mother’s birthday –

Mom, Growing up in the light of your faith and grace has made life so much better in so many ways than it could have been. 🙂 Thank you for equipping me well. I love you.




2 thoughts on “Free Will and Divine Intervention

  1. No misrepresentation. I think that God is intensely interested in what we do–and why, but there is often more than one good choice that fits the criteria for loving God and neighbor well.

    Breakfast cereal is a silly, but simple example. Does God care how we choose between two fiber-rich, hearth healthy, blah-blah-blah cereals in the morning? Is it in his will for us to eat one and not the other? Doubt it – unless (for reasons we cannot see), emptying the box of Grapenuts first fits better into his overall plan for the world. He knows we’re eating nasty cereal (instead of Captain Crunch) in the first place in order to take care of our bodies and be all we can be for him and for those we love. I don’t think we can overestimate how much God values motive, and when we are choosing between two (or many) good things, I’m pretty sure that’s what he’s looking at.

    Not sure what you mean that you don’t understand free will…

    1. It is just a tough issue for me. On the surface, I understand that God created us with the ability to choose him or not. Sounds fair, but at the same time, had he created us to fully understand his love but without the capacity to choose evil… well, I just can’t see how that would be a bad thing.

      Additionally, I sometimes wonder if “free will” is a bit… misunderstood. Can we really know every option? Does God limit our choices? I know there are much more philosophical ways to pose this question and endless theories about it.

      The scope of this topic is intimidating to me, I don’t think it’s possible to fully explore and grasp all the factors… just too big. Does that make sense?

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