Today’s Readings: Isaiah 42:14-21; Luke 1:5-25; Psalm 113
I find an interesting theological tension lying buried within one of the verses in today’s reading from Isaiah. Let me take a moment and see if I can tease it out for you.
In the first portion of verse 16, the prophet quotes God as saying: “I’ll take the hand of those who don’t know the way, who can’t see where they’re going. I’ll be a personal guide to them, directing them through unknown country. I’ll be right there to show them what roads to take, make sure they don’t fall into the ditch” (Isaiah 42:16 from The Message). This portion of verse 16 makes it sound as if God is a puppeteer – driving the events of one’s life as they unfold. That is the approach many have taken for years in terms of conceptualizing God’s role in one’s life.
The second theological approach is a bit more subtle. It lies within the culminating words of the same verse – verse 16. In that portion, God is quoted as suggesting: “There as the things I’ll be doing for them – sticking with them, not leaving them for a minute” (Isaiah 42: 16 from The Message). There words stress a different way of understanding God’s role in one’s life – a way that stresses God’s presence over God’s control.
My life experiences have pushed me in the direction of the second theological perspective. I believe in a God that limits Godself by gifting us human beings with free will – while being with us/within us at every step of our journey.
So where do you come down on this theological perspective? Are you inclined to relate to God as puppeteer, are you drawn to God as an imminent presence within our lives, or some other understanding?
Til next time…