People and purpose
Here is one of those verses that polite Christians always skim by and try not to think too hard about:
Romans 9: 21Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
It's been several weeks since my ex wife has called. That always puts me a little on edge. I get to wondering what it would be like if she never called again. I think of the relative peace that my boys experience without the crying on the other end of the line, and broken promises made again and again. Empty proclamations of love with no action to back them up. I don't see how that can be good for my sons. But then, there are a lot of things I can't see, and isn't that what faith is all about? It brings to mind the scene in Lord of the Rings where Frodo first finds out that Gollum is tracking them…
[Frodo sees something some distance away. He hurries towards Gandalf, and sits beside him.] [To Gandalf]: There's something down there!
He's been following us for three days.
He escaped the dungeons of Barad-dûr?
Escaped. Or set loose. He hates and loves the Ring. As he hates and loves himself. He will never be rid of his need for it.
It's a pity Bilbo didn't kill him when he had the chance.
Pity? It was pity that stayed Bilbo's hand. Many that live deserve death. Some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them, Frodo? Do not be too eager to deal out death and judgment. Even the very wise cannot see all ends. My heart tells me that Gollum has some part to play yet, for good or ill, before this is over. The pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of the Ring.
So who am I to say that my ex wife's role is simply a bad thing? She has been living a lifestyle where death is likely to happen at any time. Yet God in His mercy has kept her alive. That tells me she has a purpose. Some part yet to play in the lives of my children. Just as Frodo couldn't conceive of the purpose Gollum had, and how absolutely necessary he would be in the completion of his quest, I can't see why my ex is still kicking around. But "Even the very wise cannot see all ends." And I'm not even very wise. So I'll just have to stick to my faith in God, that He does have a plan and a purpose for my family. And apparently pain and broken promises are a part of that. If Frodo could have wrestled the author's pen from his hand at that point, he would have rewritten the part where Bilbo stays his hand. Gollum would be dead, and only at the end would he find that he had lost because of it. My question is if I wrestled the pen out of the hand of God, what would I do? The answer is that I have learned not to. I'll let Him be the author and finisher of my faith. I'll let Him be the potter that creates people the way He sees fit. I'm not going to complain about my role, or anyone else's.