I hear it all the time. It comes in some version of “it was meant to be.” People who are not God followers tend to talk about fate or some amorphous Cause that created a situation.
Believers credit God with the green car they just bought or the perfect job they just got. The Christian version of it-was-meant-to-be is “God told me to do this.” Oh really?
This is not a diatribe against being thankful to God for answered prayer. The Bible actually encourages us to give thanks in all circumstances. However…
Sometimes the desire to be appropriately thankful and God-honoring, leads to unreasonable extremes. A friend of mine told me about a woman who said that she was going to move in with her boyfriend and said that if she got pregnant (without the use of contraception) it was the will of God.
Will of God? Will of God? Of course it’s the will of God. He gave her and her boyfriend the equipment to get pregnant. How she uses it is quite another thing, and she has no right crediting God with her indiscretion and foolishness. If she got pregnant, it was because she CHOSE to do so, not because God magically touched her Fallopian tubes.
Similarly, Nicole Ritchie got arrested in December for her second DUI. She seems to have been bitten by the same stupidity bug as her friend Paris. Nicole is supposed to go to trial this week. An article in today’s Merced Sun-Star said that she kept apologizing to her father for the DUI.
Her father is reported as saying, “You’re doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing to your father at this age.” I suppose he might have been saying that she was acting age appropriately. However, it also occurred to me that he might have been saying, “You’re acting the way you have been caused to do so by some invisible force.”
Whichever her father meant, it removed from Nicole any personal responsibility. She was “supposed” to be doing all this drunk driving. No personal responsibility. No accountability. No consequences. Using such reasoning, Nicole should throw a party and celebrate the fact that she was being obedient to what she was supposed to be doing.
I wish we could get rid of the “meant to be” language. It is responsible for all kinds of trouble as well as the destruction of faith. Watch how it connects good and bad together. 1. A man buys a “new” car and says the car is so perfect it was “meant to be.” 2. The day before, a heart broken woman brings that same car in to sell it. It is one of the few things left over from a 20–year marriage. 3. The year before that her husband engaged in multiple dalliances with a series of women, and he finally told his wife that he didn’t love her and wanted a divorce.
If that car was MEANT to be, so also had to be the broken marriage which enabled the sale and purchase. “Meant to be” means that the universe’s events are all stitched together, and everything that happens is orchestrated and purposeful. If you play the “meant to be” game, you can’t discriminate between the things you think are good and the things you think are bad.
In truth, “meant to be” is often “this is exactly what I wanted” in masquerade. The woman who moved in with her boyfriend wanted to get pregnant. It had nothing to do with what was supposed to happen. And the man who bought the green car really liked it, although he would have never wanted the woman to lose her husband in order for him to have the car.
Why can’t we just say that? “This is what I want…” Maybe we’d be more honest then about how impure our motives often are and what trouble our choices often cause. Maybe we’d also quit blaming God for the messes that we create with our own desires.