Something About Freewill

Darkness is swallowed up by light.
Each morning. Every time.

I recently watched the movie, Time Bandits. A fictional story that chronicles God’s tree makers as they attempt to become international renowned thieves. They steal a map with the holes in the fabric of time and during the movie they are racing around the world and throughout different time periods stealing and running away from the Supreme Being.

In the end, like all stories it is a simple matter of good versus evil. Light versus dark. The Supreme Being catches up with them and when the dust settles, the battle finished the time bandits find themselves profusely apologizing (you could even say in fear and trembling) to the Supreme Being, begging for mercy.

 God, or the Supreme Being is portrayed as a seemingly careless old man in a stuffy suit. He stiffly responds to their pleas of mercy with something like, “Steal? How can you steal what I have given you?”

Then he turns to make his exit from the movie, but one of the time bandits runs after him and asks the age-old-always-wondered question

“If you knew, how could you let this happen?

Because even when the good guys win in the end, there is a huge mess to clean up afterward.
Why does God not just avoid the mess?
Something about free will…
The Supreme Being is walking away and seems to not hear….then he stops and turns around like he has remembered something….
“It has something to do with free will.”

He says while lazily shaking his finger a hint of a smile on his lips.

At first I was not impressed with my God portrayed as a stuffy old careless man in a suit. Unaware. Almost uncaring.

But free will is funny that way.

We pride ourselves on likes and dislikes. We feed ourselves only what we want. We give presents to one another with meaning; sentimental silly old bats that we are.

God gave us thatHe lets us like. He let us dislike.

He gave us choice.

He lets us choose what to do with our day.
He offers His strength but he does not force it on us.
He shows us what holiness is and He gives us His own righteousness, but he does not turn us into robotic thoughtless actors.
He offers forgiveness but he allows us to remember the weight of our sin.
He offers His peace but He does not dictate how we react to circumstances.
He gives abundant life, but does not make us to enjoy it.

He gave Himself as an offering to man, but He does not force Himself upon His bride.

Love in the Dark
God’s love is not tricky. There is no fine print. He does not force anything on you.
(You wanna know about God? Read the Bible. It’s all there.)

It occurs to me…
When you love God you love Him with the lights on.

And God is not a night-club-hotty.

Darkness limits sight and knowledge. Dim light increases beauty. Covers blemishes.

Why else would moonlight be so romantic?

Satan likes the dark. Satan is a night-club-hotty. He is handsome under the low light -especially when seen through a drunken eye. He is fast on the promises and slow on keeping them. Yes, you may enjoy a night in his company, but he is a little too busy trying to destroy God’s kingdom to sit down with you for breakfast. Console you in trials. Or even announce his departure.

And besides, in the morning light through sober eyes- he is less handsome. Less desirable. In fact only one word can describe his companionship: regret.

He lives in the dark because he does not want to be seen for what he is.

God wants to be seen just as He is. He is light. He exposes sin. Exposes Satan.

He has given the Bible that people might know Him. He gave His son, so that man might have an example in flesh of holiness. And a the hope of salvation.

God’s love opens eyes. It reveals the truth.

Funny, but what God always leads me back to is the importance of choice. God is not a fumbling old man being tricked. He is not somewhere up there looking down only now and then.

He is here. He is present. And he is man enough to not force love upon you.

Love is a choice. If love is forced upon someone it is nothing but raped emotions. If love is brought about by tricks it is nothing but a lie. Love cannot be manipulated. And let us all be honest there is nothing holy about the secret-sneaking-around-in-the-dark-kind-of-lovin’. In fact, give me a soapbox long enough and I could argue that ain’t love at all.

We, greedy little boogers that we are, hoard our likes around us. We push away our dislikes. We love what we choose. We get angry when God strips us of our earthly wants.

We lash out.

How exactly does one fight with something that cannot be seen? Something that has the title of SUPREME BEING?

We smear his image. We lie.
We question. And do not listen for an answer.
We shout. We get mad. We stop making sense.
We do not allow His love in.
We hurt ourselves. We hurt others.

We ignore that He is sovereign.

Yup, that old stuffy man in the movie was right. It is something about freewill.

God is not careless. He is the giver of choice.

Moments of Decision
God gives all sorts of opportunities to glorify Him. To embrace His mercy. And then when something goes amuck, we get our panties in a wad -and declare we can not understand how a loving God could be so dang mean.

We harbor ill will. And angry thoughts. Fists clenched. Why couldn’t life be easier?

I suppose, it is sort of mean of God not to snap His fingers and make us love him. It would have been an easy fix to this terrible world.

If only His perfectionism had outweighed His mercy we would have no likes, no dislikes, no choices. If only God had been nicer and we had not been given a choice in the matter.

Yes, He is sovereign. And yes, he defines ‘know it all’ –but he is not the creep crazed stalker trying to force love on some unsuspecting victim.

He is not the jealous pressuring boyfriend worried about being replaced.

He is not the angry husband waiting at home gun in hand. Ready to kill and right the wrong.

He is self-control. He is patience. He is love. He is waiting.

He has given life. And conquered death. Light has swallowed up the darkness.

We are not waiting for victory, we are living in it. The team you are partying with is your choice.

We do not define God.
Man does not continue to sin because God is weak.
Crap does not continue to happen because He is not God.
Darkness does not continue to fall because light has been lost.

God is not satisfied with love that is only word deep. Said and then forgotten.

He is a romantic. He is the victor.

But He is not inviting you to come and just enjoy the winning celebration. He is inviting you, waiting on you to respond to the most loving act ever given.

He will not force you. In fact, Jesus said, “Blessed are those who believe and have not seen me.”

He is waiting on you. He wants you to choose Him.

But your choice does not define God.

Your belief or lack thereof does not change the fact that He is who He says He is.  The I AM.

The Do Not’s
Do not hide in darkness asking light for a sign. Do not pray for a miracle to prove His kindness. Do not wait for a disaster to lead you to the truth.

Do not be so foolish as to think that you can find a better love than Jesus –somewhere out there hiding in the dark.

Do not get distracted by the lit up neon signs of man when the joy of the morning is waiting.

Darkness will flee. It cannot control the light.

You have a choice.
Be caught in the dark.
Or find love in the light.

I am not promising that being found in the light will be easy.  Or that you will even like yourself better in the light. In fact I can assure you of the opposite. 

Because in the light of His glory your sinful wretchedness will be exposed. And you might learn to despise yourself in a new way.

If you allow redemption to be at work in you. If you believe that Jesus has forgiven you- if you let God's peace be yours. If you let Him love you, and choose to love Him back...

You will find that God really does work all things to the good of this who love Him. That is not just for situations and disasters. It is you.

It is your heart. Your sinfulness. Your pain. Your life. That He will work to the good.

Love God and trust Him for the good He is working out. Or hide in the dark and make your own plans. It is your choice.

Because it really is something about freewill. 

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