Johannes Benninghoff, Youth Minister – 19 December 2018
A common phrase that is uttered is “It is all part of God’s plan.” God has a plan for creation that is certain and God’s ultimate plan for us is to reunite with him (see John 3:16). However, it is very easy to be dismissive of how much our Free Will is actually worth. While God certainly does have an ideal for everyone’s life and a plan for them to live it, it is still our decision to follow God’s ideal. God does not micromanage every move that we make.
In speaking with Cassie regarding this topic, the theme is abundantly clear; choice. She used this word a lot in the conversation we had and for good reason. One of the hurdles that one has to jump over when discussing Free Will is the all-knowing hurdle. God is all knowing and since he is all knowing do we really have the freedom the choose? My response is from a human perspective; do we know God’s will? God’s will is not ingrained in us to the point where it becomes instinct. We have to allow God’s will to enter into our way of being, which is a choice.
This is why we ask Him not to lead us into temptation. By asking this question we are pleading with God to spare us from our mistakes. God knows where we will mess up and is ready to guide us back to the proper path. However, He will not force His way into our lives because love cannot be coerced. Free Will allows love to exist! So, when we petition the Lord to not lead us into temptation we are allowing God to enter into our lives and show us the way through it.
The more we allow God’s will to enter into us the more we will live according to His plan for us. However, the next question that quickly comes up is, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” The short answer to this question is, again, choice. What we do affects others, and so, the consequences of some people’s bad choices go beyond themselves and hurt others. An extreme example is the scenario of a drunk driving death. The victim who was struck by the drunk driver may have done absolutely nothing wrong, but it was the choice of the drunk driver to drive under the influence that caused the horrible situation.
Perhaps the most difficult scenario to discuss is one where disease causes the suffering. How many innocent people die due to a disease they are not responsible for? How is this in a loving God’s plan? The answer here is biological. God created the universe to keep creating. What a wonderful gift! The universe is not perfect because if it was it would be God. So, when the universe creates, imperfections happen. It is certainly deeply sad to witness the death of a loved one or innocent person due to illness, and because of this we should choose to rejoice in the hope of the eternal promise that Christ’s coming fulfills.
During the remainder of Advent let us choose to allow God to enter into our lives. Let us praise him and rejoice in His love for us! Let us prepare for the coming of Christ and choose to share this love with the world.