I just finished reading a short blog post about worship by a guy who considers himself a theologian. It was an interesting post, but the guy doesn’t seem to understand worship at all—he seems to think that worship is about our attitude, and what we do and say. But, this is not why I wrote this post. In fact, the statement, “This is not why I wrote this post,” is precisely why I wrote this post. Let me explain…
I was reading the aforementioned blog post, the writer included a brief autobiography as it concerned his topic. What caught my attention and pretty much derailed my train of thought was when he began a paragraph with, “The Lord then led me to Dallas Theological Seminary.”
My first thought was something like, I doubt the Lord leads anyone to Dallas Theological Seminary (sorry, I couldn’t resist—I’ve never been a big DTS fan). The question that really did preempt any thinking about worship was “Did God really lead him to that school, or was it simply his decision?”
God told me… or did I just want to?
I’ve known hundreds of people over the years who routinely say, “God told me …” or “God led me …” It’s nearly become a figure of speech rather than the theological statement it is. And, when it’s apparent that it was a poor decision, they fall back on “God must have a reason.”
Did God really lead him to that school, or was he simply avoiding taking any personal responsibility for his decision?
Now, it could be that looking back, he can see how God blessed his time at DTS; perhaps he met his wife there, or had some other experience or opportunity that was unique to that place. However, my question is still, “did God lead him to DTS, or did God simply bless his own decision?”
I’m not sure that there’s practical difference between the two. I heard once that to the ancient Jewish worldview, there was no difference between “God caused” and “God allowed,” and that if something happened, it was presumed that God had allowed/caused it. I suspect it’s something of a combination. I doubt that God has determined everything or even has a “perfect will” about everything. On the other hand, I believe that some things are determined. Does it really matter which are which?
How to screw up your life
One way to really screw up your life is to adopt the belief that God has perfect plan for our lives that includes relatively minor details, but yet that God has given us free will to mess up his plan. Marriages, for example, can get really messed up if one partner thinks they may have missed God’s “perfect will” and married the wrong spouse. Some even use it to justify divorce. This kind of thinking is guaranteed to make us miserable, if not downright schizophrenic.
Don’t be afraid of making bad decisions
My own opinion is that “the one” doesn’t exist. I believe that God’s plan for us is big enough to cover all possible contingencies. Hence, Romans 8:32, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him…”
That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to be wise; after all, God’s given us tons of wisdom in the Bible, and has offered to give us even more (James 1:5). What it does mean is that if we are stupid, God will work good in that, too.
If it helps, think of it this way: You couldn’t make a perfect decision if your life depended on it. There, now the pressure’s off. Just make the best and wisest decisions you can, and trust God to do his thing. God has already “given us all things pertaining to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3), so have a little faith and go for it. Go to DTS, even.