In the last week and half or so, I have read these two books, Blink of an Eye by Ted Dekker and When God Weeps by Joni Eareckson Tada.
Blink of an Eye is a fiction book, and When God Weeps is a theological or devotional book. I enjoy books by both of these authors for different reasons. Ted Dekker’s books are fast-paced, entertaining, basically movies in print. Joni’s books are insightful and real.
So these seem like two completely different kinds of books, right? And they are, but I think they present two opposite philosophies.
Blink of an Eye is a story based on a young man’s ability to see not the future but many possible futures. And the outcome of his story depends on his ability to choose which future he will perform. He discovers the power of prayer when he realizes that praying changes the possible futures that he can choose from.
This philosophy places man at the center of his destiny. He has the ability to accomplish anything he desires as long as he makes the right choices. This book also would imply that God is not omniscient because if He were, He would know what the future is. And that would mean that there is only one possible future because nothing surprises God. The main character actually starts out believing that this is true, but is then “proved” wrong when he gains his ability to see the many possible futures.
Therefore, if we suffer, it only rests on man’s shoulders. We and maybe others made the wrong decisions, and now there are consequences. Man controls the future. Also, prayer is just a tool that we can use to manipulate our futures in a favourable way.
When God Weeps is a book about why God allows suffering. And Joni makes the point that God does not just allow it, but He actually plans out the suffering we experience in order to use it in the process of making us more like Him. Also, suffering is so that we can know Christ better, have fellowship with Him by understanding the suffering He went through, and so we are able to help others. We need suffering if we want to be like Christ. Romans 8 says we are heirs with Christ if we suffer with Him in order to be glorified with Him.
She proves that Satan cannot be the highest cause of suffering because even he must have permission from God to cause us to suffer, as in the story of Job. She also uses the many verses in the Bible that show how God is in control of all things, even the bad things.
And He does not control things in a manipulative way. We are not going on our way when all of a sudden, He jerks us the other way to do what He has planned. He uses natural things like weather and circumstances to accomplish His will.
To us, that may sound as if all of our freedom is being taken away. But I would prefer things be controlled by God than by man. And I think most of you would prefer that as well when it comes to the good things. We say all the time things like, “If I had left the house five minutes earlier, I would have been in that car accident. God is so good to have kept that from happening.” But when bad things happen, instead of looking to God for His good purpose in it, we blame Satan and men and ourselves.
God is omniscient. He does know the future, and He does accomplish His will. And man is not as much in control as maybe he would like to be. There is a song that says, “Humble me to see that You are God, and I am not.” And that is very true.