Guilt and God’s Will
All of my novels in the Solo series include a few theological discussions between the rector and some of the characters. Here’s one from The Actress.
After breakfast, I told Father Paul how guilty I felt.
“Satan wants you to feel guilty,” he said. “Satan is the ultimate accuser. He cherishes our guilt. Do you know why? Because our guilt leads us away from realizing God’s sovereignty. Guilt is like telling God you don’t trust his promises. Guilt makes us believe we’re in control, not God.”
“But still, if I hadn’t involved (name withheld), he’d still be alive.”
“God wanted him to come home. It was time.”
“But you didn’t know him. How do you know he went to heaven?”
“Good question. I don’t. And you’re right, I didn’t know him that well. But Martha, here is a difficult, yet truthful understanding we should all know about our creator. There are people destined for destruction, so that those who are chosen for eternal life will have gratitude, knowing what God has done for them. If everybody went to heaven, what gratitude could anyone possibly have for the very God who saved them? Read Romans chapter nine. It’s all there. My namesake, the Apostle Paul, explains it very clearly.”
“Wait, you’re talking about something way over my head. I was talking about feeling guilty.”
“Unless you realize God’s unconditional love for us, even the sacrifice of his own son, you’ll never understand why he doesn’t want his children to carry guilt around forever.”
As he stood to retrieve his coat, I said, “I’d like to know more about God’s sovereignty. I have a difficult time believing we’re puppets, without free will to choose for ourselves.”
“Oh, we have free will, Martha. Just like God gave Adam and Eve free will,” he said, reaching for his coat. “We’re free to do whatever we want. And we’re free to accept his salvation, or we can dismiss it. Here’s what we must realize.” He paused, folded the coat over his arm. “God is not part of our story. We’re part of his.”
He slid his arms in and looked at his watch. “I’m sorry, but I need to run. I have a meeting in five minutes at the church. Can we talk later?”
“Of course,” I said. “I don’t suppose you’d tell me if you’re meeting with Tully Ivey, would you?”
“I can’t say. I’m sure you understand.”