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The First in the Deck Series

Our most recent DIY experience through the process.

Out With The Old, In With The New

Gotta love a new beginning, right?

Peppermint Shortage

Just a funny afternoon.

Coffeyville, KS

I loved this experience so much that I had to write about it. Then, through e-mails it spread to Coffeyville itself.

Photo Restoration

I had a lot of fun with this "old school" photo. It turned out too cool to not blog about it.

Kitchen Remodel (part one)

This is the first of a nine-part series documenting the remodel of our 50-year-old kitchen in our 100-year-old home!

Coldplay and Understanding God

I'm fully aware that Coldplay isn't a Christian band, but bare with me.

Three years ago, I wrote a blog titled Free Will that discussed the nature of our God-given freedom to choose what we do with our lives.  I believe that this blog will be understood without reading Free Will but if you're up for it, I believe it would be a good read to understand this blog a little more in depth.

This morning, on my morning commute to work, I was listening to an old Coldplay album I hadn't given airplay in a while.  Specifically, I was listening to Warning Signs off of their Rush of Blood to the Head album.  Here are the lyrics:
A warning sign, I missed the good part then I realized
I started looking and the bubble burst
I started looking for excuses
Come on in, I've got to tell you what a state I'm in
I've got to tell you in my loudest tones
That I started looking for a warning sign

When the truth is I miss you
Yeah, the truth is that I miss you so

A warning sign, you came back to haunt me and I realized
That you were an island and I passed you by
When you were an island to discover
Come on in, I've got to tell you what a state I'm in
I've got to tell you in my loudest tones
That I started looking for a warning sign

When the truth is I miss you
Yeah, the truth is that I miss you so
And I'm tired, I should not have let you go

So I crawl back into your open arms
Yes I crawl back into your open arms
And I crawl back into your open arms
Yes I crawl back into your open arms
This song brought to mind a lesson that I learned a few years back that I thought I'd share with you, whoever you are.  The lesson is this: Give Glory to God for the good things He does despite whether or not you believe He did them.

A few of you may be nodding your head in agreement but I imagine that most are wondering what I mean by that.  Either reaction is okay.  I've done both.

I'm very logically minded.  I need things to make sense using reason, logic, and facts.  This is a neurological requirement.  I believe wholeheartedly that God made me this way and that He is not in the least bit bothered by it.  He isn't bothered because He literally is truth and knows quite well that, using reason, logic, and facts, I will find Him over and over again.  And, He likes to be found.  And, I like to find Him.

In my experience, I found that I could pretty easily explain away with natural occurrences what others would call miracles.  In fact, it was the first thing that came to mind when hearing about or seeing one of these so-called miracles. I would immediately know how that could occur naturally.  Early on in my Christian walk, I would even write off these miracle stories as fake.  Perhaps the people telling them or claiming a healing were, in fact, feeling healed.  But, feelings are subjective and cannot be corroborated by others.  So, I didn't think people were intentionally lying.  They were just being naive.  I know I'm not alone in this.  Admit it.  If you're not there now, you were at some point before.

But, what I have come to realize is that there is some real truth to the cliché that God acts in mysterious ways.  It's not that God is trying to be mysterious.  It's that He's operating in such a way that maintains free will.  (This is the part of the blog where I hoped that you chose to read the Free Will blog I linked to at the beginning of this one.)  He is operating so that there is no definitive proof.  See?  If He intervened in our lives in such a way that there was literally no room for doubt then there would be literally no room for choice to disbelieve.  Imagine if He just showed up at your door all shining in incredible glorious light and looked you in the face, grabbed your hands and instantly made you 18 years old again.  We'd have no room for disbelief.  Our choice to believe or disbelieve would be gone.  It seems like a good thing on the surface.  But, if our choice is removed from the equation, then our free will is lost.  If free will is lost, then I no longer can choose to love Him.  If I cannot choose to love Him, then I am forced or programmed to do so.  And, we all know and understand that robots cannot be made to love us.  Love inherently requires the choice not to love.

That said, when I witness someone experiencing a miracle or hear about one second hand or even witness coincidences in my own life.  Even though my brain still goes straight for the natural explanation, I know that I have a choice right then.  I can choose to accept my brain's interpretation or I can choose to believe that God miraculously intervened.  There is no cost to believing the latter.  It takes no special effort.  In fact, accepting a natural explanation is no more than believing that God didn't do anything which is disbelief by definition.  I have the opportunity to give God the glory in all things.  Conversely, I have the opportunity to practice disbelief in all things.

Now, since I made this life change a few years back and began to give God the glory and accept that these are instances of miracles, I have experienced a renewal of perspective.  It's difficult to describe exactly, but I feel that I have been blessed considerably by God for giving Him credit for good things.  It wasn't easy at first.  I admit that I was forcing myself to ignore the possibility of a natural explanation, but it got immensely easier to the extent that I even see now that it's the logical response.  God has to act a certain way to maintain our free will.  One might even suppose reasonably by this logic that God has the ability to move more obviously in people's lives who are more grounded in their choice to love Him since this increased exposure doesn't affect a change in their free will, just a confirmation of it.  This brings to mind Psalm 34:8 "Taste and see that the Lord is good."  You know once you've tried.  You can't know till you do.  That's not to say that everyone who has tried has stuck with it.  We all still have free will to choose.  But, we must first choose to accept that God is good before we can see God's goodness.

The Coldplay song written out above reminded me of my own struggle to accept God's goodness in action.  'I started looking and the bubble burst. I started looking for excuses.' 'You were an island and I passed you by, you were an island to discover' 'When the truth is... I miss you'  I love the redeeming quality of the end of the song.  It is true of how God waits patiently for us to come around, giving us opportunity after opportunity most certainly not because we've earned those opportunities but because of His great grace.
So I crawl back into your open arms
Yes I crawl back into your open arms
And I crawl back into your open arms
Yes I crawl back into your open arms

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