God put freedom in our DNA. We feel it when we look out over the ocean. Or when we can’t see over the prison wall.
But if I’m honest with myself, I’m not always happy with how far God goes with this gift of freedom.
Freedom means any number of possible outcomes, and they’re not all good. “God, do you see what’s happening down here? Could you scale back on the freedom just a bit, please?”
As a parent, I love my kids’ freedom when they’re getting along, doing well in school, growing, laughing. But I also know they could really, really screw up their lives. Even if I give all I’ve got as their dad. I’m not so sure I like freedom there.
Heck, I’m not always happy with how much freedom God’s given me. I’ve got a lot of responsibility, and a lot of people depend on me. I could wreck all this.
Take parenting, I can’t help but turn to God and ask, “Seriously? You’ve put me in charge of raising kids? But . . . they’re living beings! And they’re breakable! (They also don’t stay where I put them.) God, you do know I’m still basically a kid trying to figure life out, too, right?”
All this is as God designed.
Pascal wrote of the “dignity of causality”—the incredible honor God’s given that when we pray, it actually changes things in the world.
Our thoughts and actions have this dignity, too. What we choose to think about, to say, to do, all of it can bring about good or harm. (And we don’t always know which.)
God, who is love, would have it no other way.
For us to share in his love, we must be free. Because if we cannot say no to God’s love, then the yes we say would not really be our own. Our heart’s lift when a bride says, “I do.” But if we found out the groom had held her captive and alone since she was a girl? Well, that would change everything.
Freedom is indispensible if we want love, real love, godly love, to reign. And this is exactly what God wants.
So where I find myself mistrusting freedom—whether in my life, my kids’ lives, or in the lives of others—I let Christ remind me that freedom is our only chance at coming to receive and give God’s love.
And I let him remind me the lengths he’s gone to rescue us from our captors and bring us back to his love.
If only we’ll freely give him our yes.
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