You work from your house. Money is coming in. So far nobody you know has fallen ill from the pandemic, or even a common cold. Your wife still loves you, despite being in the same house with you for the last four months. Your life is under control.
How much of that control is actually created by you?
You have worked diligently for years. You’ve built trust with your peers at work and your bosses. Whenever you’re out of the house, you wear a mask and use hand sanitizer. You care deeply for your wife, and you realize she’s just as stressed out as you are, so you give her as much space and let it go when she’s rightfully annoyed with you.
Your company hasn’t shut down. Your peers and bosses have computers connections to the Internet that let them continue to have work for you, and the willingness to allow business to continue. While you’re out of the house, nobody sneezes on you and gets stuff in your eyes. Your wife is holding onto her sanity.
How much of that is actually under your control? None of it.
Notice how there were two separate parts to each of the things in your life “going right.” The part where you do what you know is moral and appropriate, and also the part where anything that goes wrong with it is completely out of your control.
A lot of people call that other part “luck.” Do you really think that the hundreds, nay, thousands of things that had to line up just right for you to be born and manage to survive to your current age are based on a game of chance?
Being “right” isn’t enough. Try doing your income taxes. You answer every question with the true information as you’re capable of giving. It doesn’t stop the government from sending you letters that your taxes were done wrong. You finally discover that the tax software made the mistake – but you’re still on the hook for it. So you fix it and send it in again. Only to read the mail six months later that they are going to take some of your paycheck to cover the taxes and fees they are charging you, ignoring the fixed taxes you sent in.
Only one has control, and that’s God. Only God can make everything line up in just the right way so that when you do the right thing, good Godly things can happen. Even in our mundane daily lives are those touches of God, smoothing out and making your paths straight.
God doesn’t have to do this. God is not made smaller when we stumble or fail. Some may even argue that He is magnified when we suffer, for that shows the willingness we have to follow Him even in times of struggle. We are not here simply to accept God’s blessing. He asked us to worship Him. Not required it, but asked us. But He made it very clear that whether we worship Him or not, life will be difficult. But He does say it will be possible: that each of us will make it through life.
So why does He smooth out so many paths before us? The same reason that we bring worth to Him in our thoughts and our actions: Love. We praise Him out of love for Him; He smooths out the rough edges of life out of love for us. It is not because of one love that the other happens; they are independent. But it doesn’t change the need to recognize all that He does for us.