A friend wonders whether it’s divine intervention or self-determination.

He tells a story. He worked hard but was still surprised by an unlikely outcome. I’ll bet you have a similar event in your journey, and I’ll bet you’ve wondered whether the result was due to your efforts or God’s hand.

It’s the stuff of theological debates, denominational splits, and late-night philosophizing over all sorts of beverages. My thought?

It’s a false choice.

We’re always looking for simplistic cause-effect relationships. Mostly we want to know who gets credit when things go well and who to blame when it goes off the rails. God frustrates our silly attempts to put Him into human-shaped boxes.

We ride bikes to support a couple dozen kids rescued from the horrors of sexual slavery. We’re a small part of a team devoted to these kids’ welfare. Several years ago, someone did the hard work of establishing the relationships that led to our kids’ rescue. But…

Jesus held them in His hands from the moment they were born. He cared for them, and millions of others, in ways I can’t comprehend. He gave us and others the amazing opportunity to do our part. He didn’t need us. He asked us to do what we can, where we are, with what we have.

We’re responsible for our efforts, not for the results. We trust God to use what we do and multiply it far beyond our ability to see or understand.

How does it work? I don’t know. Someday I’ll see from His perspective and it’ll all make sense. Until then, I trust.

Jesus is always involved, always in control, and He always asks me to do my best and be thankful. Blame? Credit? That’s all human silliness.

I’m convinced that there’s no limit to what can be accomplished by a group of committed, passionate people who work together and trust God for the outcome.

The “trust” part, letting go of my illusion of being in control of what happens…that’s hard.

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