I've just finished reading Blink, by Ted Dekker. It's fun, but I got headaches as often as his main character did, trying to juggle all the possible futures bouncing off the walls of his super smart brain.
The spiritual theme of the book wraps itself around the mind-boggling concept that human beings have free will, and that, through prayer as well as through their active choices, they can change things, even though God is sovereign.
How can both things be true? If we really have free choice, doesn't that rule out the possibility that God is sovereign?
This is the kind of dilemma we run up against whenever we try to figure out most everything about the nature and character of God.
How can He be both totally God and totally man?
How can He be three and yet only one?
How can He be holy and allow evil in the world?
The struggle is like holding onto mercury. Whenever we think we're getting close to solving the dichotomy, we discover we've lost part of the truth down a black hole.
In fact, I would venture to guess that every heresy that has ever challenged the true biblical version of the Christian faith has resulted from an attempt to reconcile one or another of these paradoxes.
But they cannot be reconciled in this life. In the extra-dimensions we'll inhabit as immortal beings we may find they come together, but in the meantime, we need to be content to live with the puzzle pieces unconnected.
That means we quit trying to figure it out and live as if both are true. We act as if our choices matter, about what we do and what we decide to pray for. But we trust that God, in His sovereignty, can weave the strands of our imperfect choices into the tapestry of His perfect will.
In doing so we acknowledge, with awesome wonder, that we matter. We are not puppets. We can change the world. This recognition will give great incentive to our actions and great power to our prayers.
At the same time, we are able to relax in the security of knowing that an all-powerful and all-loving God, like a mother eagle, swoops under us when we fall, carries us on his wings when we grow tired, and cheers for us when we learn to soar.
We can rest in the paradoxes.