Jillian - Sierra Madre, California
Entered on May 1, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I believe that everything is redeemable.

As a religious person, I have gone back and forth many times between the concepts of predestination and complete free will. For those unfamiliar with these terms, predestination is the idea that our lives are mapped out for us by God, and free will is the idea that we have complete control over our decisions and destinies. As young Christians we are told that God knows our future, which seems well and good at first, but eventually leads to the internal dilemma of whether or not we do, in fact, control our actions.

It is nice to believe that all things, good and bad, are for a reason and that God has a plan. However, feeling as though God is, what someone once referred to as a “bespectacled old Yahweh,” up in the clouds watching us act out our lives like puppets, is slightly disturbing. This led to the fear of making one mistake, which might suddenly throw my entire life off course, creating a ripple affect in the lives of those around me.

When I was in high school, the only thing my mind was consumed with was where I was going to college. After receiving acceptance letters from the two schools I was most interested in, I engaged in the pro-con war that accompanies most large decisions. One school had this but not that, the other had this and not that.

The fear that drove me, however, was not which school I would decide on, but whether or not the decision I made was a part of the future God had planned for me. If I made the wrong choice, what would happen? Would I screw up everything? Would I end up okay

After going through a similar decision making process, I had a long conversation with a friend who quoted my favorite verse, Jeremiah 29:11. “’For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you a hope and a future.’” It says plans (plural) not plan (singular), he reminded me.

I have recently begun to see that God is sovereign over not just what was, is and will be, but over what could have been and might be. Picture a large tapestry, and see how the threads interweave with each other. I believe God sees all of the decisions we could make like that. He sees how each of those decisions would impact our lives, and others as well. He knows we have the chance to make good decisions, but when we are less than perfect, he provides us a way to get back on track. He redeems it, and still provides us with the opportunity for an amazing future.

Believing that God is not in control of my choices is scary. However, it’s nice to know that I am allowed to make choices without being afraid my future will be thrown off balance.