Perspectives On Fate

I don't remember the first one I attended, but I'm sure I couldn't see.

Everyone loves a parade. From small towns to large cities, people come to watch bands, floats, clowns, tractors, horses, fire engines, and if it's a Christmas parade, Santa.

Seeing the parade is difficult for small children. Adults and older children stand in front of them. Children commonly peep between bodies or legs and over shoulders. Seeing more than a few elements at a time is impossible. To help, parents normally do what mine did: hoist them up to sit on their shoulders.

Parade entries are limited and pre-determined, reflecting a similarity to the word fate. Derivatives of the word-fatal, fatality, and fatalistic, offer pictures of danger, death and pessimism. Solomon seems to propose life is identical: Whatever exists has already been named, and what man is has been known; no man can contend with one who is stronger than he (Ecclesiastes 6:10 NIV).

A paraphrase reads; Everything has already been decidedůSo there's no use arguing with God about your destiny.

Such a fatalistic view of life is uneventful and less than exciting because it leaves no choices. God has set the parade in motion, determined the beginning and ending elements-as well as all the middle pieces, and left no room for free choice.

But the news is not so gloomy after all. I did not choose to be born nor will I have a choice about death. I can, however, select my eternal destiny by accepting or rejecting the forgiveness Christ offers. And earthly opportunities involve a combination of my obedience and God's plan.

Uncontrollable and unknowable forces termed fate do not control life; a loving and wise God does. He started the parade and lovingly guides each element to the desired end, but the beauty of our floats is partly determined by our choices.

When you feel there is no point to life, remember Christ died so we could live triumphantly. Let a loving God direct how you march.

Martin Wiles
Harleyville, South Carolina, USA

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