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Puppets In The Hands Of A Rigid God

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Theologian Jonathan Edwards published his famous sermon “Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God” during The Great Awakening of the 1700’s.

In it he speaks of the possibility for mankind to have a relationship with God based on God’s will alone. In my life, I have observed another interaction between mankind and God’s will. It seems we live like puppets in the hands of a rigid God. I didn’t say we believe this about ourselves, but it is often the action our lives take. And it shows up in our struggle to know God’s will for the decisions in our lives.

We live like puppets in the hands of a rigid God. I didn’t say we believe this about ourselves, but it is often the action our lives take.

I speak to you today from the struggle in my own life. I have journals of repeated prayers asking questions of God:

  • Where should I go to school?
  • What is Your plan for me?
  • Which job should I pursue?
  • Should I get married or stay single?
  • How many kids should I have?
  • Should I make that investment?
  • Should I start this business?
  • Should I say yes?  Should I say no?

These questions have taken many forms over the years. Most of the time there is a “should” involved. Psychologist Clayton Barbeau used to say that we are shoulding all over ourselves.  Now that’s just funny, and yep, that’s what we do.

 How many times I used “I’m just waiting on God,” as an excuse for my own inaction and avoidance of risk!

But I have agonized and strained to hear God’s voice of direction. Sometimes I heard it. Many times there was just silence. So I would wait. And wait. Believing I needed some kind of confirmation before I could take a step in any direction, and afraid to get ahead of God—as if that is even possible—I assumed the light was red and I could not move until I had some additional sign from God that it had turned green; an obvious, declarative GREEN! And if I did get some such sign, I’d second guess my perception with, “Is it REALLY green?”  How much greener did I need it to be??

It seems I was committed to staying put no matter what. Deep down I was probably afraid of failure and obsessed with making the “right” decision. How many times I used “I’m just waiting on God,” as an excuse for my own inaction and avoidance of risk!

 Success would be the sign I had correctly heard God and failure would mean I had somehow missed Him.

I was approaching God as if I was His puppet, and all my movements (decisions) were to be dictated by His rigid–and elusive–will. It was all up to Him. My own desires and interests were not valid, so I disregarded those.  (I even recall people over the years arguing the position that you can know “it’s God” whenever the call is for something you don’t want to do).  And I believed I had to wait until God revealed the next step with some assurance I’d succeed before I could move at all. THEN I would know I was really hearing from God.  Success would be the sign I had correctly heard God and failure would mean I had somehow missed Him.   I spent a lot of time stuck in a no-man’s-land of confusion and dismay.

When did this get so…complicated?

 I could not move until I had some additional sign from God that the light had turned green; an obvious, declarative GREEN!

So I’ve been having my own awakening of sorts. What if I had it all backwards? What if God’s will is that the light is always green unless He makes it clear that it has turned red? And what if His will is so expansive that it can include and even utilize the desires of my heart as well? What if I am an active member of this partnership?  Now that’s a different place to live from.

As you consider these questions for yourself, what do you notice about your life and God’s will from this possibility? Come back next week to continue this conversation with Go vs. No (Puppets Part 2).

Be Great!

Becky

Becky Henderson
Becky Henderson
I am a catalyst to uncover the blocks and barriers getting in your way of creating the life you desire. Together we can transform the obstacles into opportunities. I listen to what you say…and what you do not say. Similar to a mirror, I show you what you cannot see on your own right now, and tell you what is necessary to create the results you are looking for. I value who you are and where you want to go in life.
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