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  • Writer's pictureRob

The Ninety-Eighth (Fate)

What did you know about this moment you are in before you entered into it? What did you know about this week before you started living it? I'm sure you had an idea of some of the things you were going to do, but of course, things may change. Did you know you were going to open and read this post before you saw it? Perhaps you did. Does that mean it was your fate to do so?

In this context, fate is defined as an inevitable outcome. In other words, for this particular example, no matter what, fate suggests that you were going to open this post and read it. However, what does that say about our ability to choose? We looked at choice before, but not in the context of whether or not what we choose is predestined.

But what is the nature of predestination, or fate? When is it fate and when is it not? I think many associate fate with a supernatural being and whether or not it decides every aspect of our lives, rather than associating it with some nebulous force that has no direction. As a result, it becomes a touchy subject, especially with Christians since it can be seen as an attack on, or at least a straw man argument against, God.

When you read scripture, in various verses you may get the idea that there is a measure of fate involved in our lives, or for the world in general. You can read Isaiah 53 and see it is prophecy of Jesus, and then wonder if God controlled, or forced, every aspect of the lives of men in order for His Son to be born and die for our sins. You can read Psalm 110 and wonder the same thing about the future coming of Jesus.

Then you read verses that even mention fate and destiny in certain translations (Psalm 49:13, Philippians 3:18-19), and wonder if it actually is real, if we do have a destiny that is out of our control. But when you look closely, these verses point to an action taken by the person in order to receive a certain fate, or destiny. So really, it's not a fate, it's a consequence. And actually, when you look at the word translated to fate, it means way, or journey, and the word translated to destiny means end, or toll.

So is everything that happens to us a consequence, whether good or bad? I believe the majority is, and that goes back to blessings and cursings, which we've looked at previously. These things occur based on our actions, and therefore based on our choices. What we choose to do, what we choose to say, and what we choose not to do or say. Sometimes, other people's choices also have an effect on our lives. But there is a certain aspect of our lives which is not affected by either of those sources.

When we take a look at Acts 17, we find that the place we live and the time in which we live was decided by Yehovah (Acts 17:26). But that's the only thing in our lives that is imposed on us rather than a consequence of ours or someone else's actions. In fact, Paul goes on to say as he stands on Mars' hill in Athens, that this decision by God was made such that they would seek Him (Acts 17:27). And that we should find Him since He is not far from each one of us.

Just as a side note, read that carefully: "though He be not far from every one of us." Do you remember that song, written all the way back in 1985? Such a good year :) The song, "From a distance," is all based on a God that is distanced from us and watching us. In fact, when you really listen to all the lyrics, it suggests that all God can see is goodness in the world, perhaps implying that's why He's only watching and is not actively involved. Depressing, but we know from His Word that He is actually near, and we can take comfort in that. That song is just another subliminal message from Satan to draw us away from God.

But back to the topic at hand, what does all this mean? What do we do with this information? We know Yehovah prepared good works for us (Ephesians 2:10), and we know that all things work together for good for those that love Him and are called by His purpose (Romans 8:28). And the interesting part about the second half of that is the word used for purpose is prothesis, which when broken down means "purposefully set forth before." Furthermore, the word for called is kletos, which also means summoned.

So both of these ideas are that God has set out things for us to do for good, but neither of them say He predestines us to actually do them. It comes down to our choice, not a forced action by Him. Paul actually says "that we should walk in them," not that we do walk in them (Ephesians 2:10). So again, what do we do with this? Even though we know He has set these things out for us, we don't have any idea what they are until it's time for us to know.

This is where patience comes in. Just a few verses earlier in Romans, Paul talks about the patience we have for things we don't see (Romans 8:25). In that particular case, he was talking about salvation, but it applies just the same for God's plan for our lives. Remember, He directs our steps even if we try to plan our path (Proverbs 16:9). So we must have patience for our steps to end up at the good works He has prepared.

It also takes trust and faith to know He has a reason and a purpose for all the things in your life. Even when the enemy intends evil, Yehovah uses those things for good (Genesis 50:20). Did you know it took 25 years for God's promise to Abraham to make him a father of many nations? (Genesis 12:2, 21:5) That's a long time to wait for us, a long time to trust and have faith, but God still fulfilled that promise.

How do we take action on such things, though? How do we make sure we don't miss these good works but still have patience, trust and faith? Take every moment, every action, every decision as an opportunity to do what's right and speak truth. While God knows our hearts, and knows when we will do right or wrong, we cannot reap good from doing evil (Galatians 6:7-10). So, doing the right thing and the good thing will allow us to reap the good that comes from it.

Don't get distracted or blinded by the world, or stressors imposed by it, and stray from what's right and from the truth. It can be easy to put those stresses first, run from place to place, and miss those things Yehovah placed in our path. Or fail to appreciate the people He placed in our lives. We can end up choosing the easy path, that gets us through something quicker, rather than the right one.

God has good works for us, a purpose for our lives. He does not force it upon us as fate, but He has set it out for us to choose it. We need to be patient to see it, and trust that it's there. We can only continue to do what's right at every juncture, since we have no idea what His plans are for our life until He shows them to us.

Shabbat shalom and God bless you! I hope you have a wonderful week!

-Rob and Sara Gene

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