Between Fatalism and Faith

Fatalism. A doctrine that events are fixed in advance so that human beings are powerless to change them.

Faith. ". . . if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you" (Matthew 17:20).

The Christian often finds himself between fatalism and faith. On the one hand we teach that nothing happens in the life of the child of God except that which God has ordained (or at least permitted). But on the other hand, we are challenged that we can change our circumstances if we can muster up enough faith.

I say that the Christian finds himself between fatalism and faith because so much . . . junk (I wanted a better word, but can't find it right now) happens to us. Those of us who are adherents to the Christian faith and find ourselves organizationally under other Christian folk often catch foolishness from those above us. For example, why is it that a member of the church choir has to deal with the petty jealousies of the church choir director? So the member's got some talent. And they are a willing vessel. But the choir director's got issues and just gives the willing vessel a hard time.

Where do you put that? The choir member prays about the situation, but ten years later the choir director is the same cantankerous person they were when the situation first started. Where do you put that? Is God trying to bring something out of the choir member? How much abuse should the member take? To just remain and take it seems to me to be a fatalist's position.

Or do you run to the other side and accuse the member who ain't done nothing wrong of not having enough faith. "You're not praying hard enough!" is the thought.

Or take the example of a lady who marries a man who she later discovers to be abusive. Should she stay in faith that the man will change? God knew the man was abusive before she married him. What do we do with this? Tell the woman to stay and if she gets her brains beaten out we just say that we "bow in humble submission to the will of our Sovereign God"?

What do we do with this? When is abuse in any form (from a person or an organization) enough? At what point does one say, I'm just not gonna take it anymore. I don't give a flying hoot about what you think about my decision, I'm not going to take it anymore. When a person finally says that, where are they? Have they lost faith? Is that an indication that they short-circuited God's "purifying" process?


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