You Are Not the Master of Your Own Destiny

Excerpt from Chapter Four of the September 11th Epic Poem:

The light of hope is hard to grope       
            By someone badly trapped,
When ev’ry route to get you out
            Is quickly, soundly, scrapped.
When voices cease, and doubts increase,
            And all your friends have died;
You make a wish that God exists,
            To save you from inside.

            Our culture these days puts a great deal of emphasis on the need to be independent and self-sufficient.  School children from kindergarten on up are taught that they can accomplish anything they wish as long as they are determined to work hard for it. We are often told that it is a sign of weakness to rely on anyone else for anything, and of course no one wants to be seen as weak.  There is a popular phrase that sums up this philosophy: “God helps those who help themselves.” Many people today live their lives according to this cardinal rule. They struggle hard to take care of themselves and expect the universe to give them what they want as a result.  This formula, in some cases, yields some initial successes.  In the end, however, it leads to disappointment.  The simple fact of the matter is that this philosophy is based on an obvious lie: you cannot always accomplish anything you want to, and God does not always help those who help themselves.

            People like to think of themselves as masters of their own destiny because it gives them a sense of security that allows them to ignore the potential horrors of life that may be waiting for them just around the corner. No one, no matter how smart, strong, or brave they are, can truly be prepared for everything.  Think about the helpless victims trapped above the impact point in the twin towers on September 11th.  Life simply isn’t fair, and even people who work extremely hard to get what they want are often thwarted by forces beyond their control. Nothing that we strive for through our own power is guaranteed. We might never achieve the things we want, and we may easily lose the things we already have.

            I am not writing these things to depress you. I am writing to give you hope. The reason I am highlighting the obvious flaws of the self-sufficient philosophy is so that I can show you a better way (really the only way) to put your fears to rest.  It’s to trust in God to save you, not only from your sins, but from the horrible future that awaits you in hell.  I am not here to tell you that if you give your life to God things will suddenly go easier for you, but that you will have a future in heaven that is so secure that you will be able (by God’s grace) to resist utter despair no matter what happens to you on Earth.  The Bible says in Matthew 10:28-31:

                        “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.  Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value to me than many sparrows.”

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