If Wishing Could Make It So
All of us want to live in a world where there is no poverty, no hunger, no sickness, no war, no ignorance. If wishing could make it so, we would all live in the Garden of Eden. Fortunately for us, God gave us a real world to live in...not a fantasy world.
In a fantasy world, each individual person’s wishes are fulfilled. My corn crop gets rain when I want it. My son’s football team wins the championship. My daughter graduates first in her class. In this fantasy world God picks winners and losers.
But we live in a real world. Wishing does not make our dreams come true. The rain falls on the just and the unjust.
If wishing made it so, then my little Johnny would not be hurt if he fell while climbing the big oak tree in our back yard....I would simply suspend the law of gravity. Of course, if I did that, the physical world would totally disintegrate. Gravity keeps the world together. I cannot suspend it. Johnny will have to pay for his mistakes ... and so will I.
We must always pay for our mistakes in God’s world. The world that is given to us operates in its own way. We might say that it acts “naturally”! It operates independently of our wishes. And it operates in a predictable fashion.
Because the world is predictable, we can make choices. We can see a boulder rolling down a hill and decide whether to stand still or to move out of the way. What if we were to move “out of the way” and the boulder suddenly changed its direction and rolled toward us? But boulders do not do that. They have their “own” way of doing things, and we learn to adjust our behavior to their way.
Because boulders have their own way.... and wood has its own way.... we can decide which one to use as the foundation for a house. We can have some assurance that a house built upon a rock will stand.
If the natural world were not predictable, we would, ultimately, go mad. Imagine putting cold water in a glass and then, when you start to drink it, the water is suddenly boiling hot....or has changed into sulfuric acid. Suppose this happened randomly. We would never know what to do. Common sense would be useless.
Because we live in, and are part of, a predictable world, we can make choices. In the process of making choices, we discover that some choices have better consequences than others, which permits us to learn from our mistakes. We can get better and better at avoiding mistakes. But we are aware that we can never totally escape from the possibility of making mistakes; there are always risks involved.
The awareness of risks gives us the “thrill”of victory. Winning is fun because of the possibility of losing. Life is sweet because “all flesh is grass.”
We often dream of a “better” world after death, just as we fantasize about a paradise we never had. But the world we actually live in is the best of all possible worlds.
We fail to appreciate the real world because of our limited vision.... we cannot see all of what is. On the other hand, because we are “a little lower than the angels,” we can see some of what might be .... we can dream the impossible dream.
We cannot change the world, but we can change the way we respond to the world, which includes our very real brothers and sisters. We can, for example, work for a world in which we all accept our brothers and sisters for who they are ..... and support them in becoming who they want to be.
This is my dream, and it is one of many impossible dreams I have. And yet I will never abandon this dream, because the dream itself makes my life worth living.
So let us be humble and admit our limitations. Let us be bold and seek the impossible. And let us be thankful for the blessings of God’s world.
We all see things in different ways. Help me to see things your way. I welcome your questions and comments.
--- Jesse Shearin
P O Box 641
1609 Church Street
Scotland Neck, NC 27874