Is everything that happens to you predestined? This is a centuries-old question, and has led to various schisms in Christian theology. If everything you do is predetermined, how can you be held responsible? But, if God is omnipotent, how can you exercise free will?

Imagine you are in a canoe going down a class VI rapids. You can choose to fight the current, or you can choose to navigate within it — but either way, you’re going downstream! And, eventually, you will go over the Falls.

As you are riding the rapids, you can navigate somewhat left or somewhat right — in that sense, you have power. You need to decide for yourself if this is good enough. It reminds me of the story of a man who falls off a skyscraper; as he passes a window on the 50th floor, he was heard to say “So far, so good…”

I’ve never thought that saying “it’s God’s will” was ever a comfort to anyone upon losing a loved one. Worse, I suppose, would be to say “sh*t happens” — but this amounts to the same thing. God does what God does, the universe unfolds as it will. I’ve previously discussed the contradictions involved in praying for the deceased; really, I think, we need to pray for those that survive. The dead are not suffering a loss, those that remain behind are.

Are you going to fight the current or ride it?

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