The Frustrating Nature of Free Will

DNA marks each of us with a “genetic blueprint” that determines our physical characteristics. As much as we may want to share genes with Emma Watson, no two people possess identical sequences. DNA, therefore, proves that conformity is a genetic impossibility.

God did not create us to be synchronized robots. He knit us together with special personalities, gifts and purposes for the world. Yet this same freedom of individuality for which we praise Him is the same freedom for which we blame Him. Basically, we have a love/hate relationship with free will.

The depth of God’s love allows choices. Judah Smith wisely and eloquently expressed God’s love in the Life Church message series here. Forcing someone to love you is frowned upon (and illegal.) God loves us enough to let us choose whether to return His affection.

But this same free will we celebrate is the same free will we hate. When our horrific circumstances engulf us, we blame God. We ask why He would allow such pain and suffering and injustice in a world He so lovingly designed. We ask “why do bad things happen to good people?” We wonder. We hurt. We blame.

I think expressing anger at the atrocities of the world displays commendable compassion. In fact, if the problems of the world don’t concern you, I fear that you actually might be a synchronized robot. Anger is a normal emotional response, and doubt is an understandable reaction. If we knew the answers to all of our deep, philosophical questions, there would be no need for God.

Frankly, I don’t know why God allows such suffering in the world. By the time I know, it won’t matter anymore because I’ll be rejoicing. God doesn’t engender wrecks or massacres or tragedies. He doesn’t just shoot lightning from Heaven as punishment. He just loves us enough to let us choose the path of our lives. Some choose goodness. Some choose wickedness.

God also never promised us an easy life. (See John 16:33) I believe that “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” (Psalms 34:18). But most of all, I believe in the end of the Bible. The best part about the Christian life is that we know the ending. There’s no waiting in line for the movie. We can skip to the end of the book. Satan seems to win in this life. But he loses eternity.

There are tragedies all over the world that I cannot begin to explain. My heart breaks for the struggles of life and for the people caught in waves of desolation. But I know that God “works for the good of those who love him…” (Romans 8:28) and sometimes He is silent in the storm because He is preparing a rainbow.

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