This Sunday is “Graduation Sunday” at Northview. It’s a big day for our young people as well as for the congregation. Going through it this year as a parent of a graduate, I can say that it’s an exciting time for both the graduates and the families. With a huge milestone behind, it has come time for them to venture out into life – a life of new challenges and unknowns; a life of interesting places and different people; a life of new friends, bigger goals as well as more obstacles. A life that can doubtlessly be very, very good with God. (Jn. 10:10) Our belief and our prayer is that they are grounded in their relationship with their Creator. Thus, the thought of them extending their journey WITHGod is exciting!
As they take this next step in their lives, I think it’s clear that if they intend to succeed, it’s on them. That sounds harsh. I don’t mean to be insensitive, but the reality is in our world there’s a call to be disciplined, work hard, make good decisions and proactively engage in life. Like the proverb says, “The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.” (Pro. 13:4)
While that certainly seems to be obvious in regard to life, I wonder how such thinking “fits” into our theology regarding prayer. When confronted with an “unanswered” prayer have you ever thought, “Well, it just wasn’t meant to be” or “It wasn’t the Lord’s will.”? Sure you have; we all have. The “Lord’s will” is not only a relevant factor to consider, it’s to be a critical piece of the Christian’s life. (Mt. 6:10) Yet then the question surfaces, “Is everything alreadyjust a part of God’s eternal plan?” If so, why should I work? And why should we pray? If everything is already predetermined in the mind of God, these questions are quite relevant. Concerning this, Boyd states:
When people believe that everything is alreadypart of God’s “secret plan,” they won’t work with passion and urgency to establishGod’s will on earth as it is in heaven. Rather, as much popular Christian piety reveals, they resign themselves to all that happens as coming “from a Father’s hand.” They pray for the ability to accept things more than the ability to change things. They see the power to comfort more than the power to deliver. . . Jesus taught the piety of revolt, not resignation.” (pg.74)
What do you think? Do we focus more on acquiring the ability to “accept things more than the ability to change things”? As seen in the story of Job, as finite humans we don’t actually know what is and is not from the hand of God – at least not in every situation. Thus, it seems it is possible to end up accepting as “God’s will” that which Satan has inflicted upon us. “When we trade our mandate to revolt against Satan for an attitude of resignation, we end up accepting things that come from Satan as coming from the hand of God!” Thus, he states, we “tarnish the character of God by confusing his activity with Satan’s.” (ibid. 75) That’s a serious mistake.
Perhaps a good question is, as we walk with God are we pursuing the piety of revoltagainst all evil, or are we merely accepting a posture of resignationbecause we assume “this is part of God’s plan”? More to come.
You are loved!