Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Obeying God

In A Testament of Devotion, the Quaker writer Thomas R. Kelley talks about "holy obedience" to God's will. But is it possible to do anything but God's will?

Years ago, I told one of my spiritual teachers that I was "allowing" things to happen as God wished. His response was, "What makes you think you have a choice?"

In this respect, I am reminded of the story of Jonah, who was called by God to go to preach in Nineveh, and promptly got on a boat traveling in the opposite direction. There was a storm, Jonah was thrown overboard and swallowed by a great fish. After three days, the fish spat up Jonah onto dry land, and then Jonah went to Nineveh.

So, God gives us a choice: We can do it the easy way, or we can do it the hard way.

The introduction to A Course in Miracles presents a similar theme, because it describes the Course as "a required course." Only the time at which you take it is "voluntary."

"Free will does not mean that you can establish the curriculum. It means only that you can elect what you want to take at a given time."

So, you can go to Nineveh first, and then get eaten by a fish, or you can get eaten by a fish and then go to Nineveh. But you still end up in Nineveh eventually.

Our choice is not between doing God's will and not doing God's will. Our only choice is whether we are going to be happy about it. We can trust in God and enjoy our lives, or we can be dragged by God along through life, kicking and screaming. That's our choice.

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