“And love God, your God, listening obediently to him, firmly embracing him. Oh yes, he is life itself, a long life settled on the soil that God, your God, promised to give your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” Deuteronomy 30:20 (The Message)
Last time we were together I shared how I’m a recovering “controlling Momma.” I don’t mean to be, but God lovingly showed me how much that title truly fit. I think it started when our kids were infants and I feared for their safety. Therefore, to keep them safe I must pay attention to what activities they participate in, where they go, what they eat … basically how they live. If you had asked me years ago if that was what I was doing, I probably would have denied it, thinking I was just being an involved parent. Now that God has released my grip on fear and taught me how to trust Him instead, that’s exactly what I was doing.
After losing our baby to miscarriage and then welcoming our bonus blessing two years ago, I even drove myself crazy with how protective I was of our youngest. There was such an age gap between our older two and the “baby,” that I worried about him eating small pieces to toys that weren’t even on my radar when our first two were young. Looking back, I feel sorry for our older kids because their formerly playful mom had temporarily turned into a lunatic.
When God showed me this morning about how it’s not up to me to control anyone, including or especially my children, He reminded me that He, the God of the Universe, doesn’t try and control His children either. He has given us free will (a fancy way of saying we’re allowed to make our own choices in this world and He won’t step in and stop us even if those choices are dangerous or fatal), even to the point of allowing us to choose hell for eternity instead of Heaven with Him.
That’s a sobering thought, but that’s the truth staring me in the face. God loves His children so much that He didn’t create robots. He created human beings with minds and thoughts and desires, likes and dislikes. He loves us so much He will let us choose death for eternity if that is what we want.
That means … if God is willing to let us choose death, then we as humans need to allow our children, parents, siblings, friends, extended family choose death too if that is what they want. Because of God’s great love, though, He came up with a way for us to receive the free gift of salvation (eternity in Heaven) but it’s still a choice. In addition, God wants us to share the plan of salvation with everyone we have contact with – that part is our responsibility. However, the ultimate choice of whether or not someone will spend eternity separated from God (in hell) or in a relationship with God (receiving the free gift of salvation) is not ours to control. Cajoling, pleading, threatening, bribing, getting angry, pouting – don’t bother, because it’s not ours to control.
Do you know the one method that does work more than any others? Prayer. Share your heart and God’s plan with those you love (and come into contact with) and then pray. Ask God to open their hearts, minds, eyes and ears to His loving invitation. Pray for moments inspired by God Himself to share more about your relationship with Him, answering questions they may have about a relationship with Christ or however the conversation is led. But pray for God’s divine intervention to soften the other’s heart to want to receive the invitation of the free gift offered to all of us.
While where anyone other than ourselves spends eternity has never been ours to control, we still have the power of prayer and authentic sharing of how God is a living, breathing deity who personally and individually does mighty things in our lives and others who are His children. And it is definitely within our power to decide whether or not we will share.
© Cheri Swalwell 2018