I'm sure I've written on this topic before, but it begs being revisited because it seems to be my go-to mantra quite a bit lately.
Fate. God's will. Destiny. Whatever you want to call it, some people rely on this ultimate conclusion to every decision they make. But how true is it, really?
I am firm believer in "everything happens for a reason" but at times I question it. My belief is that God has this Grand Plan for all of us - he alone knows where we're going to end up. He's privy to every choice he gives us along the way, and he gives us these "predicaments," for lack of a better word, as learning experiences in order for us to grow, learn, understand and appreciate.
It's hard to see at the time. I remember standing on a beach in Florida when things were literally going south in my life and thinking, "God, WHY did you put me in this place? WHY did you bring me here and have me do all this and come all this way to have THIS happen? Why would you do this to me?" I still don't have the full answer to that, but I do believe that if we are never faced with the tough times, the tough decisions, then we're not going to be prepared to appreciate when the good ones really come along. We learn from our mistakes. We make what we think are good choices and they fail, but maybe they fail for a reason.
Or is relying on this method of understanding just a crutch? Is it just a way to validate a bad decision in the hopes that God had a hand in it in order to bring something good our way in the future? To me, that's where faith comes in. Because here's the deal. Try explaining heaven to a child. "What will I feel in heaven? Won't I miss my friends and my family? Will I get to eat as much candy as I want and watch as much TV as I like?" It's easy to say, "Sure! In heaven, everyone's happy." But that's too hard to understand. Why? Because like God himself, it's an enigma that is just way beyond our comprehension or understanding or explanation. We are stupid, silly, ignorant people muddling through life making good decisions and bad decisions and hoping for the best. The only recourse we have is to trust that there is a Higher Power looking out for us and guiding us to make those decisions, good or bad, to stay on track with the plan God has for us so we can end up in this magical place and finally say, "AHA! Now I get it!"
Steven Hawking said, "I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined and that we can do nothing to change it look before they cross the road." OK, I see your point, Steve. It's easy to say that we have this free will, which we have, and that we're regularly screwing up our own lives by the bad choices we make. But I'm not talking about buying the almost-expired steaks that made you sick just to save a little money versus going to the butcher. I'm talking the TOUGH decisions that keep you up at night. The ones you struggle with for days, weeks, or years wondering if you're doing the right thing. The ones that cause many people to FINALLY turn to God for when they have nowhere else to go.
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11
I don't mean to go all holy roller on you - that's not me. But think about a tough decision you made once that, looking back, you realized, "If I hadn't done that, I'd never be here today." Taking that job. Not taking that job. Moving to a new city. Not moving. Ending a relationship or a marriage. Starting a new relationship too soon or to quickly, or taking too long to tell that person how you really feel. Deciding to have a child and losing that child. Deciding not to have a child and becoming pregnant. Everyone asks why at some point but the kicker is, there is no answer. You will never in this life come to a full understanding of it. So you can wallow in your "did I do the right thing" mentality forever, or you can hope that the reason you made that decision was that God was at the helm, guiding you like a mouse through the maze of this crazy thing called life, searching and searching for that cheese. We may not think we'll ever find it, but He does.
And sometimes, that's all we have to hold onto. So why not just hold onto it?