I’m not a theologian, so I won’t even touch that centuries’ old debate in a blog. Besides, I’m sure it would fill a thousand-page book. About the time I settle on one position, questions attack my mind like flies to sugar, and I’m left wondering once again.
God has always placed people and situations in my life exactly when I needed them. It had to be God’s hand, because coincidence alone could never arrange things to play out as they did. This was particularly true with job opportunities, but perhaps more importantly, with special individuals who arrived to save me at the last moment.
One could argue it was my free will that made the final decisions, both good and bad. I do believe God has a “long leash” that allows me to screw up, like buying a new car six years ago at a ridiculously high price —something I’ve never done before, and like constantly returning to people who do not feed my soul or make me happy.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made excellent choices and decisions along the way. I have a logical, rational brain that works 95% of the time. I analyze, consider and weigh my options. So how do we know when God takes over and tugs that leash, keeping us from making irreversible mistakes?
I can share how it happens for me. It’s a feeling, not a thought — a rushing flood of feelings. It starts out as a slight discomfort in my gut and a little fogginess in my brain – sort of like the start of the flu. Often I ignore them; no matter how strong they become, no matter how painful, no matter how sick I may feel. They call this dis-ease.
Sometimes I march on into that bad decision convinced intellectually that my stand is correct. If I push on, with my head pulling my heart behind me, the symptoms worsen. A tension inside me tightens. I experience weakness, blurry thoughts, and nausea that if ignored can lead to complete and total melt-downs. God usually gives me a reprieve about the time I fall to my knees to pray. I hand the situation over to Him and then live with whatever consequences I’ve earned.
Sometimes, if I’m not grabbing that rope too early, I experience what has been described as déjà vu. The experience may not even relate to my current situation, but the episodes come often and with clarity, and they grab my attention. Many people, maybe most, don’t believe in déjà vu or explain it away scientifically. I understand that logically it can’t exist – but for me, it does, and when it happens I sharply halt whatever I’m doing and realize I’ve been give a sign that I’m heading in the right direction.
There have been times when I’ve prayed and been answered in an hour and times I’ve prayed with no response. Parents have died; people haven’t changed; bad things have happened. Perhaps God has his own plan for others that my short-sidedness can’t see.
Are there ways that you recognize God’s hand in your life? I wonder if they are similar to mine. Or perhaps you have suggestions I can look for in my own life. I hope to hear from a few of you, and in the meantime, I will continue to waffle between God’s Destiny and My Free Will.