By Mike Edwards
I write Posts often with two groups in mind. One group is those who have attended a church for years and either continue to go or have stop attended due to disagreements what God is really like. The second group is those who are inclined to believe there is a God but have not been church-goers. The former group is more familiar with the pressure to know God’s will in your life. The latter group may wonder how do you know when God is directing you, when they hear others say “I had to do it because that’s what God told me to do.”
Does God really control all that is going on?
It is natural to think an all-knowing, powerful God has special insights into future outcomes. But to say God knows the future suggests a predetermined future which makes freedom nonsensical. God can’t know if your marriage will end up in divorce or your new job position will be discontinued in the future. God joins us relationally in a free, unknown future. God’s plan can’t be a detailed blueprint but a general one to set us free to love. God hopes as we do that our actions make a positive difference in the world. One can rightly question if God supposedly knows the future, why does God hide it from me? What parent does that if suffering could be avoided?
God may not speak to us demonstratively out of love
Just because earthly parents sometime know and advise what is best for their older child, such advice doesn’t always work out. In fact, overzealousness on the parent’s part can lead to a child feeling controlled, thus rejecting what is best for one’s own good. God’s awing or overwhelming presence may only lead to fearful obligations to obey. The road traveled of learning, reflecting, and not being pressured may best lead to lasting convictions and more meaningful relationships.
What is God telling us to do?
I know for a fact a loving God is telling me to love others like I want to be loved. That isn’t always clear what action to take, but neither can it be for God unless God has predetermined the future. Many decisions are obvious wrong — murder, abuse, adultery, etc. God doesn’t have to speak. Many decisions though aren’t black and white, even for God. Do we speak up about one’s behavior or risk driving them further away? God joins us in considering risks to change the world for better. God feels the disappointment we do when things don’t work out for the best.
Influences in our life don’t have to be audible or certain. My parents aren’t alive, but I still sense their influence. God can’t tell us either that our decisions will work out. God deals with a free world also. God is hoping with us that our decisions will make for a better world. Don’t we sense God’s influence when we have thoughts to be the perfect partner, parent, or friend we desire to be deep down. God isn’t as hidden as we might think. God gives us the freedom to make decisions, and I understand the consequences of immoral decisions. God is in our uncertain life with us.
Mike Edwards has been writing for Done with Religion for some time and has been a great addition to the site. Mike also has his own site where he writes that can be found at What God May Really Be Like He can be contacted by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org