In the mid-2000s, my friend Jason set me on a path to explaining predestination… or at least how God is omniscient without manipulating, controlling, and marionetting us around. It involves ice cream, and as a father, I’ve come to understand it this way for myself.
One hot summer night, I offered to spring for Bruster’s ice cream for my seven-year-old. We headed over as it began to pour. I told him he could wait in the car, and that I’d be right back. I didn’t realize until I got back in the car, ice cream in hand, that he thought I was going to come back after reading the ice cream flavors to tell him.
“Wait, you got mine already?” he asked, a slight pout creeping onto his face.
“Yeah, buddy!” I replied, as I handed the spoon and cup of ice cream back between the seats, “I got you chocolate.”
“Oh, yeah! That’s my favorite.”
Of course, the moment gave me a warm feeling inside, not quite that of John Wesley as his heart was strangely warmed. But it also came to mind when my clergy reading group discussed I Peter and its use of “foreknowledge” and “elect,” etc.
Too often, we get caught up in what it means for God to have chosen us, and we make it one sided.
We blame God when things don’t go our way, and deny our responsibility.
We take the credit when things do go our way, and forget how God made it happen.
You can be elect, or you can choose God by your free will. I think those are two sides of the same coin. Either way, I think God loves us and wants us to be happy, in some small way reflected by a dad who knows his son’s favorite flavor of ice cream.