Oh, to have God give us concrete signs!
Wouldn’t it be great to have a direct sign from God about what choices to make for our lives? What should we do for a living? Whom should we marry? Where should we live? What house should we buy? How should we deal with this friend, coworker, brother, sister, mother, child? Should I buy this handbag? Pumpkin spice latte or hazelnut cappuccino?
Or what if God gave us a single guidebook for how to please Him? What if we all had the same directions? What would our world look like devoid of personal choices? Maybe we would all have to perform the same jobs, marry the first person who came along, proceed to the next step of God’s plan for our lives at the same time as everyone else?
For as much as we sometimes desperately want a direct sign from God, something to tell us what to do in a difficult situation, there is the opposite effect of eliminating our choices. If there were no options from the smallest actions of how we treat strangers on the bus or in the coffee shop, to the big decisions of life like how to serve God in a particular vocation—would that glorify God at all? Would that be a fully human expression or would it be an automation?
If God made standard signs for us all we would be deprived of choice. We would be deprived of the freedom which Saint Paul speaks of today in his letter to the Galatians. Jesus came to give us freedom. We no longer are dependent on what tribe we were born into, we are not pre-determined to perform only good and righteous actions nor evil and sinful ones. Christ broke open the doors of history to bridge us to the Father through love, and gave us the gift of freedom; the gift to choose to love.
Jesus throws open the doors of heaven and history by giving us something human kind can barely fathom: personal freedom. Through the Incarnation of Christ the miniscule human capacity for love was blown apart and freed from death and sin. Through Christ’s sacrifice we became able to participate in the divine love of the Trinity, but only through our own interior choice. We are never forced through signs, never disrespected by God and denied choice. But through choosing God, in choosing to love fully in the smallest of actions, choices, even hidden movements of our hearts we show our full capacity for freedom.
Oh, to fully love and so, be fully free!
Christy Isinger is the mom to five lovely, loud children living in the Canadian wilds. You can find out more about her here.