I’ve been tossing around the idea of belief. Is it required or not? If so, then what for? What happens? How do you define belief and unbelief? Months now I’ve been thinking about this.
I feel like in some ways I have God-given freedom to do whatever I want to do. But that also means I am responsible for my choices. Some refer to it as divine consent.
How far does that go? I don’t know yet. I don’t have an answer I’m comfortable with yet. On the one hand I feel like we are given freedom. On the other hand I feel like I’ve experienced God opening and closing doors in my life. I feel like I’ve experienced supernatural favor at times. So if we’re not robots or puppets, how do I explain those events?
As I type I’m reminded of a moment when I was at college. An adult male, most likely the father of a little boy. He was following his son. His son was a toddler. Just learning how to walk. I could see them down a long corridor that spanned the length of the building. The father was watching with a great big joyful smile as his child toddled down the corridor.
All of a sudden the child saw a hallway to the left. He started for the hallway opening. The dad jumped in front of the child. The child tried to go around him. The father stood and blocked him again. But the father never physically touched the son. He just stood in his way. Not angry. Just for his protection. Never chastising him. Not even telling him not to go down the hallway. Just put His body in front of his child’s and the child turned around and went back down the original corridor.
I remember thinking at the time how that might be a picture of God towards us? Rejoicing in us. Standing over us ready to catch us? Blocking our way when He knows we don’t need to go a certain way?
I remember the father’s smile. Full of love. Never taking his eyes off his child. Curious to see where the kid wanted to go. Not a puppet master.
So tonight the thought came to me that commonly people are told by well-meaning others that they are separated from God and they have to go to Him. They are told they need to pursue God or they will encounter hell.
But the story Jesus told of the Good shepherd leaving the 99 to go find the lost one doesn’t sound to me like it depends on you to make Jesus happy. Instead it sounds to me like Jesus’s heart is for healing and restoration of those that need it most. He goes out and gets them.
Then I wonder, what about the prodigal son? The Father didn’t go chase after the prodigal. So does that prove avoiding hell depends on me? I’d answer yes or no depending on what hell you are talking about.