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Free Will and God's Will

By Eveningmeadows ~

The other day my daughter was telling me about a friend’s birthday party that she went to. While she was there, she was talking to her friend’s mother. I used to be friends with this woman when my daughter was young, but I just couldn’t take her anymore.

I met her when we both had our kids in Xtian School. It was a very small Xtian school, and our oldest daughters were in the same kindergarten class. It was a lousy school, but that’s a different story. She was pregnant with her third, and I was separated from my ex for the last time. She seemed to be a nice person, and since I was separated, I didn’t feel too welcome by the nice married women in the church.

I went to her house for coffee one day, and the first thing that hit me when I walked in the door, was the smell of manure. Her husband worked on a dairy farm, and it never seemed to dawn on him to change his clothes before he sat on the furniture. It was a very strong smell, but I didn’t want to be rude and judgmental. They were living in a small house that was provided by the dairy farm, and during the years I visited with her there, it was obvious that it wasn’t insulated, the drain in the shower didn’t work, and it was slowly falling apart, and I never did get used to the overpowering smell of manure.

To say this gently, and I was a Christian at the time, I hated her husband. He was everything that any women would hate in a man. One of those guys with a permanent hunting permit pinned to his cap. The cupboards might be empty, a cold house, not much furniture, but the gun cabinet was always full. Actually he had enough guns to buy two gun cabinets, to protect the kids you know, even the ever coveted black powder rifle. But even though he couldn’t provide enough food for his wife and four kids, a decent car, or money to pay the bills, no way was he going to accept any kind of charity. Oh no, never. It would just make obvious the already obvious, he was a lousy provider. Nope, no church pantry for him, food stamps, or milk program for the kids. Even though he worked on a dairy farm, he had to buy his own milk. He thought of himself as a real man’s man. I guess he could be considered a “red neck”. But this is the Northeast, so I don’t know what you call them up here. A**hole is what I called him, even as a nice bornagain woman. He hated me as much as I hated him. I was a divorced “man hater”, in his mind. But being divorced, I was disgusted with men like him. You’re no man in my eyes if you’re putting your needs first and those of your family last.

This guy never changed a baby diaper. He would sit on the couch and call his wife and tell her the baby needed its diaper changed. He never dressed the kids, and she was never allowed to go out by herself, because he was afraid she would be doing what he was doing if she went out alone. Spending time at bars, messing around, you know stuff like that.

The washer, dryer, car would break and he would never ask for help from his decent Christian father who took care of his family, and would have gladly have helped him fix what was broken. No, he was a real man, and since he was too busy drinking, hunting, and being an all-around real man, he didn’t have time to take care of his home or family. My friend and her husband were in this strange codependent relationship. They were horrible for each other. They were too much alike since neither one could take charge and make decisions. They both sat there and hoped the other one would take care of everything. I don’t know how I stayed friends with her as long as I did. She would complain about the lack of food, money, bills pilling up, but would continue to make excuses for his behavior.

But, let’s not forget “FREEWILL”. God can NEVER infringe of anyone’s FREEWILL. That would be just plain WRONG.Finally he lost his job on the dairy farm, and they had two months to move. Neither one did anything to look for a place to live. She waited until a few weeks before they had to move, and looked around. She finally found another falling apart house to move into. Her husband did very little to help in the packing or moving.

After marrying my husband, and seeing a man who would always put his family first, and would do whatever he had to do to provide for us, I hated this guy even more. One day when she was complaining about how awful things were, I told her she should leave the jerk. Get on food stamps, lie to him if you have to, get on housing assistance, welfare, whatever, and leave the useless bastard. I was so angry. I was so tired of the excuses for his bad behavior.

Of course, this guy had tons of prayer going for him. Mom, Dad, sister, brothers, my friend, pastors. Certainly god must be aware of the pain that this guy’s loser behavior was having on his family. But, let’s not forget “FREEWILL”. God can NEVER infringe of anyone’s FREEWILL. That would be just plain WRONG.

After that things just went downhill for her and me. She couldn’t stand me telling her what a jerk her husband was, and I couldn’t stand her denial. It’s funny, the whole time I knew her, and she never was involved in a church. She was a Christian, but just couldn’t find the right church. Hubby grew up in the Baptist church, and she had gone to a Pentecostal church, and no way were his kids going to one of THOSE churches! Towards the end of our friendship, suddenly she started to go to the local Baptist church, and low and behold, became a bonafide church goer. I was questioning the whole religion thing by then. The self-righteous, good Christian attitude was the last straw for me. I haven’t seen her for over ten years.

My daughter met her daughter again, and they started spending time together as adults. My daughter was telling me that this jerk had totally changed with the birth of his grandson. He didn’t drink, stopped smoking, liked to watch cooking shows and try out different recipes. But if anything broke in the house they were renting, he wouldn’t tell the landlord, because he didn’t want to be forced to move because the house was falling apart. Over the past five or six years, the refrigerator broke, plumbing in the kitchen didn’t work, rarely is any oil bought in the winter to heat the house. The adult children were in and out of the house, and the daughter with the baby was living in the house, with heat only when she herself bought oil. She later found out that her son had high levels of lead in his blood from the lead paint in the house.

The guy is still a loser in my eyes. He still thinks if he hides any problems with the house from his landlord, he’s taking care of his family. He’s never made any effort to fix any of the serious problems with the house himself. He’s a coward. I don’t care how many guns he has, or if he can gut a deer that his daughter hit with her car, so what.

As my daughter is talking to this woman, this woman is telling her how wonderful her husband is now. He doesn’t drink, smoke, goes to church, and is part of a men’s bible study, and is a “family” man now. She was trying to encourage my daughter in her relationship by saying that she prayed for her husband for years and years before this miracle in her husband happened. Miracle is my word. I don’t know what word she used. I hope it wasn’t miracle. I said to my daughter, well, you know I’m an atheist now, and why did it take god so many years of pain before god finally heard her prayers and changed him? My daughter got upset and said we all have free will, and god can’t change our free will. I said but why did everyone have to suffer all those years when god could have changed him in an instant and spared everyone that horrible life? God’s will, that’s the answer.

I’m thinking logically, since that’s all I can do, if this guy finally “changed” because he wanted to, what’s the difference between god working this “miracle” in his life, and his own desire to change? Aren’t they suspiciously similar? God can’t make any changes in our lives unless we ask him to help us, and then FINALLY all those years of prayer can be answered? Am I missing something here? It all seems kind of hokey to me. How was this guy supposed to know he was a jerk, since he thought he was a real man, if god didn’t let him know? Enough people were praying to god to fix this guy. And god seems to have done a rather half assed job on his “miracle”, since the guy still can’t be a decent, unselfish provider. He could have at least had the guy win the lottery or something and buy his family a brand new house and car, and enough oil to heat the house and pay the bills. THAT would be a miracle.

What about when I was a “believer” and prayed for years and years to be fixed, healed, of my supposedly personality defects, or what about my questioning and final disbelief? Didn’t I suspended by freewill and ask god to take over? Why was I never changed? Ah, I know, it was GOD’S WILL. There’s FREEWILL, and GOD’S WILL. That covers just about any non-answer to prayer doesn’t it?