Louis L'Amour, To The Far Blue Mountains
Indeed it is a baffling question my friend, Mr. L'Amour. To pagan and redeemed alike this is a troubling and dividing question yet one of great importance. If there were ever a question to be used as an example of how our theology affects our life, this is a perfect one. If all of one's decisions are the only thing that are guiding the course of their life and it is up to them to guide their life along a certain path - tis a scary thing. To fail to make the wisest decision could mean utter failure for their life.
BUT if God is He who has PREDETERMINED all things before the foundation of the world then neither are we the ones who receive the praise for a "successful" life nor for choices made that result in a good end.
As I was reading this novel (the first in a very long time), I found many such statements intriguing. I was not willing to believe that such musings were not also a reflection of the author's own thoughts on life. Indeed the question of will, whether God's or man's is superiorly efficacious, is no new question.
Such passages as Eph. 1:4 and 2 Thess. 2:12-14 are comforting to hear of God's predetermined, effective will by which he wrought salvation for our souls:
"In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will"
"But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ."
I am amazed more and more with each passing day that Kim and I are now on the other side of the country. God is and has ever been our only hope and comfort. I know that the same God who called me to salvation, despite the waywardly evil intentions of my heart, will not let me "mess up" my life. He has given His Word to give direction and we are to use wisdom to make God-honoring decisions. I pray I have done so.
So how am I going to live? How is this going affect how I make decisions? First, I must never believe the lie that I have enough power to screw up God's plan. Though the present, at times, may look grim and unpleasant I must trust that it is "God who works in [me], both to will and to work for his good pleasure" (Phil. 2:13). Though moving across the country, leaving friends, ministry, and family behind, seems nigh outrageous and perhaps rash (to some) but through prayer and much reflection on what I am called to, such has been my decision. I will trust that "when all others fail to finish what they propose, [God's] purpose remains unchanged." (Augustine). He is doing a good work and we must cling tightly to Him.
Second, I must ever praise Christ for the work that He is doing though the reason for our present condition may never be clear to me. It is not my place to know the secret councils of the Most High but to live in obedience to His Word and trust Him for each passing day. We are excited to be apart of His work and must ever strive to be faithful to Him.
Third and final, we must never fail to be committed to our clear callings: to each other as spouses and that which Christ established before He left earth: the Church. The body we are now apart of (soon to be official "members" of), Redeemer Community Church, is so thankful that God has brought us to their be apart of their fellowship. We can be sure that though all other organizations and programs outside of the Church are a question mark, the Church is where it's at. May God give us much opportunity and the ability to be conduits of His grace among them.