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Did God Cause It or Did I Do It?

Did God Cause It or Did I Do It?

But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, Pharaoh will not listen to you. Exodus 7:3

I’ve written previously that, even though I’m not thankful for the pain I caused in my addiction, I am thankful for my addiction. As terrible as it was, it was only a symptom of a greater problem. My greatest life problem has always been that I simply do whatever I want. My addiction was the one problem that caused me to address my self-obsession. Without my addiction, I’m afraid I’d still be living a completely self-centered life. As painful as my addiction was, it taught me faith – to at least try to point my life at God. I’m far from perfect and I still have my struggles, but now, I’m daily attempting to live a life of following God’s will instead of my own. So, yes, I’m thankful for my addiction.

This begs the question – Did God cause it? Did he manufacture my addiction to bring me to a place in life where I am now using my own struggles to help others who’ve struggled similarly? I think most people would laugh at the idea. You did this to yourself. Don’t blame God. I’m not attempting to shirk personal responsibility here. I’m simply interested in knowing God, and there is some Biblical support for my God-caused-it theory.

Today’s passage is one of those passages. In it, God sent Moses to Pharaoh to ask for the release of the Hebrews from Egyptian slavery. Then, God said something very strange – I will harden Pharaoh’s heart. A few verses later though, (Exodus 8:15) we read that Pharaoh hardened his own heart. Were these two separate events? Did God harden his heart one time and Pharaoh hardened it another?

I’d suggest that these events – where Pharaoh’s heart was hardened – are identical and that the two passages simply look at it from two different perspectives. So, did God harden Pharaoh’s heart or was Pharaoh evil, hardening his own heart. Yes. Both are somehow true. Is this then, an isolated incident? I don’t believe it is. Rather, I believe it teaches us something very important about God, and that is this – Somehow God is in control of everything, while somehow allowing people to make their own choices, which he eventually works out for his plan.

I want it to be one way or the other, because that makes sense to me. God caused my addiction, or I did it. The Bible seems to teach though, that God is in control and that I chose it. Somehow both are true. I’m still responsible and God is still sovereign. God, in his wisdom, orchestrated my addiction, while allowing me to make my own choices, so that he may one day use it for his good. It’s hard to wrap my head around, but still, I’m thankful for God’s work in my life.

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