By Todd Strandberg
"What guides our destiny?" This quandary is the cause of much debate and introspection, both in the religious and secular communities. We can set goals and strive to reach them, but there is no guarantee that we will be able to achieve them. Anyone who has suffered a major disappointment can testify to how frustrating life can be at times.
The destiny question is made all the more complex by our lack of understanding about the nature of supernatural agents that actually control our lives. People tend to place their trust in explanations that provide
the most appealing answer. Unfortunately, the truth about our future destiny is not always so apparent.
The forces that direct our lives can be categorized under three main headings: Fate, Luck and the Will of God. In this article, I'll define how each of these factors influences our lives, and I will suggest the best
options for living a more prosperous life.
Fate: an event or a course of events that will inevitably happen in the future.
Fate is the events that will happen to a person that cannot be changed. For example, being born in the state of Missouri is a fate over which a person has no control. Fate is also viewed as an irresistible power or agency that determines the future. It is a concept based on the belief that there is a fixed, natural order to the universe.
There are some dimensions of our fate that we can control. Every day, we make decisions that factor into our future fate. If someone smokes for a prolonged period of time, he is guiding his destiny towards dying at a younger age than someone who doesn't smoke.
Conflict with the Laws of Nature
One big consideration in fate is why disaster strikes some people and not others. When calamity strikes the young and the innocent, people wonder why God is being unfair.
It could be easily said that we live in an imperfect world, and adversity is something that needs to be taken into consideration. The Bible says we have no guarantee that we will live to see tomorrow.
I think a better way to explain why disasters strike is the realization of how they fit into the laws of nature. Our world operates under a system of laws that govern the physical realm. These rules apply to things like gravity, motion, fluids, gases, heat, energy, and chemistry.
When people clash with one of these laws of nature, a negative consequence is often the result. Hurricane Katrina was a good example. Parts of the Southern United States were devastated because they came into conflict with the laws that guide thermodynamics. Hurricanes can only form in areas where there is warm water. The heat energy in the Gulf of Mexico resulted in the storm that devastated the city of New Orleans. A land-locked state like Nebraska never has been hit by a hurricane.
The residents of Omaha are not necessarily better people than the residents of New Orleans. The primary difference in the fate of these two cities is their geographical layout.
What Will Be Will Be
A difficult issue concerning fate is the question of why bad things happen to people. Because there is no definitive answer for this quandary, people don't dwell on the issue.
The greater dilemma is people being resigned to a certain fate. Once people become conscious of the difficulties of overcoming obstacles, they often reach a point at which they cease trying to achieve their goals.
Just because the odds are stacked against you, doesn't mean you should quit. Some people who have a problem with weight control use their low metabolism as an excuse to eat themselves into the Guinness Book of World Records.
Both Terry and I have to overcome hindrances to accomplish our work here at Rapture Ready. Terry is blind, and I am a terrible speller. My partner is able to work by using a program called JAWS. It reads information on his screen by using synthesized speech. I'm able to press forward by utilizing a Microsoft feature call spell check. We both have a second line of defense called Angie - our editor.
We are never prisoner of our own fate. Some things are beyond our power to change. But because life is full of options, we can use our resources to realize our objectives.
1# Luck: The belief that there is a supernatural bias towards why we experience events of good or ill fortune. An unknown and unpredictable phenomenon that causes an event to result one way rather than another:
"Bad luck caused his downfall;" "I knew it was bad luck for them to have
married on Friday the 13th." "Bad things always happen in threes."
2# Luck: Achieving a favorable or negative outcome by being on the positive side of a mathematic probability. It is the belief that all events are guided by random chance. "He had no special reasons for picking the
winning stocks;" "With a dozen other companies competing for the contract, we knew it was a long shot for us to win."
"Here Take This Penny"
I was once at a hardware store buying some drywall cement. As I stopped by the checkout counter, the checker noticed I was wearing a Rapture Ready t-shirt. I told her it was for a website on prophecy that I maintain. No sooner than I had told this young lady about RR, she rang up my purchases and my change came to $6.66.
From her startled reaction, I could tell she knew enough about prophecy to know 666 was some sort of evil symbol. I laughed, and tried to ensure her that it had no special meaning. She was so spooked by my association with prophecy and the sudden appearance of the "beast" number on the cash register that she pulled out an extra penny, saying, "Here, take this penny."
One night I was using the drive-through at Taco Bell, and after giving my order, I noticed a dollar amount of $6.66 was displayed in large red letters. The guy at the window didn't first ask me to pledge my soul to Satan
before giving me my Gordita Supreme and Steak Soft Tacos. He was oblivious to the oddity of the dollar amount.
Nothing is actually mathematically unusual about the appearance of the number 666. If you make an average of two purchases every day, at some point during the year, you should expect to have a bill or change equal to this amount. Because my personal habit is to rarely use coinage, I'm probably more prone to encounter triple sixes more than most people.
Why I Don't Play the Lottery
Lotteries are also strongly connected simply to math. It seems to be a great bargain to be able to purchase a dollar ticket for the chance of having it instantly turn into a $100 million windfall, but in reality it is a sucker's bet. Even if you could play until you picked a winning number, you would still come up a loser.
The chances of winning the Powerball lottery are around 1 in 120 million. Because you only get about half of a grand prize in a cash lump sum payment, you would need to have a jackpot of around $300 million just to break
even. Any jackpot less than the $300 million mark would not be worth the bother.
Even if you only played when the jackpot was above $300 million, you would have to be endowed with eternal youth to be able to play until you picked the lucky number. Even at that, you would be making a poor investment. A person who deposited a dollar into a stock mutual fund account every time he bought a lottery ticket would be worth hundreds of billions of dollars long before he hit all the numbers in the lottery.
It is 70 times more likely that someone will get fatally struck by lightning than win a lottery. The most likely way people receive wealth is by earning it over time or by having it left to them by rich relatives. People are
drawn to the lottery by the simplicity of the winning process.
All Hail the Umbrella God
A wide number of superstitions influence people's behavior. According to my trusty Merriam-Webster's dictionary, these superstitious practices result from "ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation." The driving force behind these superstitions is the idea that one should avoid anything that can bring misfortune and embrace anything that can improve one's lot in life.
Some popular examples of superstitions are: don't let a black cat cross your path; breaking a mirror brings seven years bad luck; step on a crack, break your mother's back; never open an umbrella indoors.
If it truly is bad luck to open an umbrella indoors, there has to be some supernatural force acting to administer the punishment for the misdeed. The only valid explanation I can imagine for why it is bad luck to open an
umbrella indoors is that maybe it somehow mocks the sun god.
You don't need a rabbit's foot, a golden horseshoe from a magic unicorn or a
bucket full of four-leaf clovers to protect you from an umbrella-hating sun god. There is no such thing. The only solar-sounding god we need to recognize is the Son of God.
The Will of God
The Will Of God: Any understanding of the Creator's role in the universe needs to start with the realization that God is the source of all life. "The Lord hath made all things for himself" (Prov. 16:4).
Because God is the One who set the world in motion, it is logical to assume that He is able to determine the course of events. Whatever outcome He desires will come to pass. If we are to know our own fate, we need to
understand what God has decreed for our life.
Sucking Up to the Wrong VIP
Most Christians fail to understand the importance that God has in our life. We sing His praises, and talk about how great He is, but when it comes to our daily lives, we often rely on lesser gods to accomplish certain goals.
Several years back, there was a gathering of Christian leaders for the purpose of honoring Benny Hinn. If you have been a long-time visitor to RR, you probably know that I have little regard for Mr. Hinn.
One well-known head of a Christian University made a surprise showing at a Hinn meeting, and he heaped a mountain of praise on his dear buddy Benny. There was only one problem with this situation. This gentleman had previously told people that he absolutely can't stand Benny Hinn. His
prior assessment of Hinn included character titles like crook, false prophet, and habitual liar.
It wasn't a massive stroke that altered this guy's mind. He was kissing up to Hinn because he wanted to get a plug in for his own University. This fact became evident when He ended his praise of Hinn with a lengthy ad for his little academic learning center.
There is a benefit to seeking help from people who have power and influence, but the process of receiving assistance should never involve compromising truth. Whenever you do a deal with the devil, you're cutting God out of the equation.
It's bad enough to turn someone from scoundrel to saint for material gain. A worse error was him basically saying, "I placed more trust in man than the God who made the sun come up today." If it is the Lord's will, the
University could be filled to capacity.
It would not surprise me if the Host of Heaven caused this man to suffer a net loss for his double-minded deals.
The Ultimate Micromanager
The most difficult prayers for God to answer are the ones that never get asked. Prayer is normally reserved for times when we thank Him for trivial blessings like food and family, or in desperate situations when all other
options have been tried.
The average Christian fails to understand God's role in his or her daily life. I think the main reason we don't rely on God more has to do with a general belief that He operates outside our immediate world. People regard their
lives as too trivial for the Lord.
The Bible indicates that God cares very much about details. Jesus said that our hairs are numbered and a single bird does not die without the Father knowing about it.
The reason life seems to operate without a conductor is because the One pulling the levers is a master at his work. God has a long-term plan for everything, and it's our impatience that blocks us from seeing His guiding
Seeking God's Will
I firmly believe that when we get to heaven, one of the biggest surprises about our earthly lives will be how easy it would have been to accomplish the desires of our hearts by simply seeking God's perfect will.
The 10th chapter of Daniel is a model example for why we need to have a persistent prayer in seeking God's assistance. Daniel prayed for 21 days for divine guidance before the angel came to reveal prophetic truth to him.
While Daniel was praying, the angel trying to reach him was hindered by the "prince of Persia." This blocking agent was most likely a demonic being exercising authority over the leaders of the empire. If Daniel had stopped praying, it's doubtful that the angel would have delivered the revelation detailed in the 11th chapter of Daniel.
If you want to know God's will for your life, or have Him change your current state of affairs, you need to seek His guidance. The Bible is full of promise of God's blessings; however, the door will not be opened
until you first knock.
"And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you" (Luke 11:9).