I was reading a story in Genesis when the Lord has already decided that Abraham was to be the source of a great nation, and as he walks with him to check out the gravity of the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham, concerned of the imminent destruction of the two cities, wonders out loud to God and asks would he wipe away the innocent with the guilty. “what if there were 50 innocent people, would you wipe away the place rather than spare it for the fifty innocent?” God agrees to spare it for the sake of the 50. Abraham slowly whittles God down to only 10 people, and God agrees to spare the two cities for 10 innocents. Of course in the next story he sends angels to find the innocent, finds Lot and his wife and daughters and sends them away before God obliterates Sodom and Gomorrah…ouch.
In a time when corruption can seem so pervasive, when it appears that the good and innocent stand no chance against the evil in the world, I took up the notion to negotiate with God like my forefather Abraham did. In my prayer time, (which as an aside I actually visualize the conversation I’m having with God and am often surprised at what transpires…is it God talking? Not sure, but if I learn something I guess that’s what matters…so don’t judge) I asked God, “what of those of us who love you with all our hearts, minds and souls, and our neighbors as ourselves? Would you save this world for us or let us perish along with those who are evil?” To which God responded,
“You already have your salvation guaranteed into my kingdom, and not by your deeds but by sacrifice. As for this world, you have already been given all the necessary tools to keep this world thriving, what you do with them is entirely up to you.”
“What tools?” I asked. God responded bringing my attention to my bible which was open to the Gospels.
“It’s all there”
and then he pointed to my head and heart and replied
“and in here.”
What about all those who gather for worship? He answered gravely
“attendance at worship is for each individual, for their own sustenance…it is of no consequence to me. Love is all there is, and is the source of all that exists. It is neither restricted by doctrine or space.”
I replied, that I didn’t think the pope would be happy about that.
“Don’t underestimate my brother in Rome, he is working within a millennia of human drama. He understands that the foundation of my church resides in something far more substantial than rules and regulations.”
Not wanting to dwell on church dogma, I moved on.
So I asked him, “so what about prayer?” He pressed me further,
“What about it?”
I began to get that sinking feeling that I wasn’t going to like the answer, I responded, “when we pray to you for something why aren’t our prayers always answered?”
“I hear every one”, he replied, “but be careful, I answer in the course of things beyond your comprehension.”
I asked for greater understanding so God sighed and replied,
“I hear and answer all prayers, but not always in the way that you all want. The burden of omniscience is that I see beyond the moment into all future implications and interactions. Just because someone doesn’t get what they think they need or want in the moment doesn’t mean that I don’t love them or didn’t answer them. Alternatively, the burden of free will is that you can choose your own destiny and with that comes the consequences of choice, many of which aren’t always so obvious. Free will is a difficult concept, one can’t ask for freedom to choose their own destiny and then hide from it when it becomes something other than what they thought it would be, it gets too hard, or when they make a mess of things. Additionally, I can’t just intervene whenever I want to, I need to be invited in as part of the equation. You must choose me in that moment to become involved and trust that I can help, that I will help, and have faith in the outcome. The hardest part for my children is to let go of control, and have faith in my answer, the kind of faith that knows that even the darkest moments can be transformed into the greatest of lights. I will be always present to support, love and guide you, if that is your will. For it is my will that all my children thrive and fulfill their own destinies.”
The line about destiny spurred me on, “So what about our heavenly destiny?” To which God smiled, and said
“That is where the miracles happen. Your heavenly task is to do what I have created you to do, to use your gifts and don’t bury them and help others to do the same. Utilize all the lessons my Son gave you, take them to heart. If you do this, you can save your world many times over, all with your own personal flair and flavor.”
Worried, I asked, ‘What about those who choose evil instead?”
“I am the author of this play, My Son has already secured the ending. With free will, choice is always present. The balance may shift from time to time, but fear is fleeting and always offers an opportunity for champions of the light, remember, I know how the story ends, because I created you, I am your source, your home and your heart. That is why I say to you that my yoke is easy, my burden is light”
I suddenly felt sad, worried that I haven’t done enough with the gifts I’ve been given because I do feel worry and burdened a lot these days. He then got serious for a moment and said,
“And your heavenly task has nothing to do with a church, a philosophy, a country or a tribe. You asked me to open your eyes, and ears and so I did. You asked me for clarity and I gave it to you. Your path will be perfect and will lead you where you need to go not only because of your faith in me, but in yourself. No building or structure, occupation, job or livelihood will ever define or direct your destiny because it is who you are that is your gift, and everything that you do that is your destiny. Don’t complicate it dear child…I will guide you where you need to go, if you ask me to and I promise to hold your hand the whole time.”
I shook my head yes and took God’s hand and away we went.