Sometimes all the effort in the world doesn’t work out as planned and expected. There are things which could have been done however in the end it may not have made any difference in the outcome. Life is full of twists and turns, many unexpected, all driven by our freedom of choice. As easily as the discussion flows on controlling outcomes, eliminating unpredictable results, and shaping uncertainty, I find myself always falling back to the questions unasked and unanswered.
How precious do I hold personal freedom? What am I willing, not willing, to give up for the certainty of reward?
The answer is simple in one way. I am not willing to give up control of my ability to choose. This is the one freedom above all others. With choice, I control what happens to my body. I determine my response and actions to the present. These may be with hope, regardless the choice remains mine.
Ironically as important as “my” choice and freedom is, I easily want to take it from others. I’m not willing to pay the price for their freedom, accept the impact, of his or her choice. Bad things can’t happen to good people. I want somebody to control the outcome while not messing with my freedom!
God voiced the paradox in a situation centuries ago, yet it applies to today as easily as it did then. If one holds freedom to be ultimately the most important gift we have, Divinity’s words ring true. “Can you think of anything I could have done to my vineyard that I didn't do? When I expected good grapes, why did I get bitter grapes?” (Isaiah 5.4) The answer then and now is one I find hard to accept; “we” made a choice.
There is an alternative. We can always choose compassion and love. We can always let hope guide us. We can fight for what is right and just. We can, regardless, in spite of, and even because of the “evil” which surrounds each. The reward will come, in the fullness of time.
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