We come this morning –
Like empty pitchers to a full fountain,
With no merits of our own.
O Lord – open up a window of heaven,
And lean out far over the battlements of glory,
And listen this morning. (James Weldon Johnson)
The human mind plans the way, but the LORD directs the steps. (Proverbs 16:9; context)
This Lent, we are exploring our faith by running through the alphabet. Today, “D” is for Destiny. Destiny is an oft-misunderstood concept. Many would say that “destiny” is the final and ultimate way that your life will transpire no matter what you do to it: you can’t escape destiny, they say. This is the “Darth Vader” understanding of the concept. He tells Luke Skywalker several times that it is Luke’s destiny to switch over to the Dark Side of the Force; seemingly, there’s nothing Luke can do about it.
The other side of the coin says that there’s no such thing as destiny. Instead, we all make our own way; we all have self-determination, which trumps destiny every time. This is the “Han Solo” understanding of the concept. He tells Luke that hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at Luke’s side. His intent is clear: I make my own rules, and I’m not beholden to any particular path.
A proper understanding of destiny falls somewhere between these two extremes. It is true that we cannot escape our destinies. However, this inescapable nature does not mean that we haven’t a chance of influencing that destiny. God’s directing creativity stands as the framework in which all our destinies exist. And this directing creativity includes our self-determination. Therefore, we cannot escape destiny because we are always choosing it. So ask God in your prayers to help you make your choices, for each one will impact the person you are becoming.
Dear God, you are foundation for all life and your boundless creativity has given me this unique life. Help me to use this life in the ways in which you would desire for me to live. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.
I leave this moment with you, God, taking hope in the overarching reality that you are the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.