The heavens are the heavens of Jehovah; but the earth hath he given to the children of men.—Psalm 115:16
This past week, as our country celebrated our freedoms, I was contemplating what freedom really is and how we believe as Christians that God, in relation to Him and each other, has given us freedom universally as well.
The heavens are His, but he has given the earth to us. And although God is intimately involved in each of our lives, we human beings are the ones calling the shots down here–maybe not individually, but collectively as a whole. He grants freedom by default, unless we give Him control of certain situations in our lives. And yet this freedom must be understood. The control we give to God applies to us but not always to everyone else involved. Let me explain. We want a world where God won’t make us love Him but will make everyone else love us. We want a world where God won’t control our actions but will control the actions of others around us. What we still have yet to understand is that the abuse of this God-given freedom on our part has caused, whether intentionally or unintentionally, whether directly or indirectly, countless pain in the lives of others, as well as more misplaced blame upon God, than any other misunderstanding that exists.
Everything that happens on this tiny planet falls somewhere on a continuum between Divine control and human freedom depending on how much control those involved have given Him of a certain situation. Sometimes His hands are loose, and sometimes His hands become tied. His will is not always done. He does not always get His way. And yet, we find an interesting characteristic in ourselves as free moral beings when things go wrong. We blame God for things He hasn’t done. We blame Satan for things he hasn’t done. And, in the end, we take credit for things we don’t even have the ability to pull off on our own.
Why would God give us this freedom if it has such potential to go wrong. Without oversimplifying the answer, we must remember that you cannot have the potential for great good without also the potential for the opposite. And secondly, without freedom one cannot experience love. And to love is the purpose for which we were created (see Genesis 1:26 and 1 John 4:8).
And so this week, in the wake of celebrating our national freedoms, let us also keep in mind our universal God-given freedoms. May we remember that evil prevails when good men fail to act and pray the prayer Jesus taught us: “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)
*For more on this subject, please listen to To Love and Be Loved, Why Did God Allow This To Happen To Me? and God At War at: