Fixed Laws of Nature and Freedom of Will
We can, perhaps, conceive of a world in which God corrected the results of this abuse of free will by His creatures at every moment: so that a wooden beam became soft as grass when it was used as a weapon, and the air refused to obey me if I attempted to set up in it the sound-waves that carry lies or insults. But such a world would be one in which wrong actions were impossible, and in which, therefore, freedom of the will would be void; nay, if the principle were carried out to its logical conclusion, evil thoughts would be impossible, for the cerebral matter which we use in thinking would refuse its task when we attempted to frame them. All matter in the neighbourhood of a wicked man would be liable to undergo unpredictable alterations. That God can and does, on occasions, modify the behaviour of matter and produce what we call miracles, is part of Christian faith; but the very conception of a common, and therefore stable, world, demands that these occasions should be extremely rare. In a game of chess you can make certain arbitrary concessions to your opponent, which stand to the ordinary rules of the game as miracles stand to the laws of nature. You can deprive yourself of a castle, or allow the other man sometimes to take back a move made inadvertently. But if you conceded everything that at any moment happened to suit him—if all his moves were revocable and if all your pieces disappeared whenever their position on the board was not to his liking—then you could not have a game at all. So it is with the life of souls in a world: fixed laws, consequences unfolding by causal necessity, the whole natural order, are at once limits within which their common life is confined and also the sole condition under which any such life is possible. Try to exclude the possibility of suffering which the order of nature and the existence of free wills involve, and you find that you have excluded life itself.
—from The Problem of Pain
He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live (4:4).
A little girl was told by her parents, "Stay away from the road." Almost every day, the instructions were the same. The little girl obeyed the command, but occasionally she forgot when her ball rolled onto the street, or when she was running with her friends. One day, while the young girl was playing near the road, she saw a puppy run into the street just as a car went speeding past. The car squealed to a halt, but not before it struck the puppy. The little girl watched in awe, and suddenly her parents' instructions made perfect sense to her.
It is sad that all too often we demand proof before we will believe someone else. We want to know why we should obey rules, rather than follow them simply on faith. God has given us a number of commandments to follow. There is no need to question them, especially if we honestly believe that everything God does is for our good. God gives us commandments to insure that we can live, and live fully and happily. It is through faith in God and trust in His love that we come to enjoy life the way God planned it to be.
prayer: You have devised such a wonderful plan for life, Almighty God. Lead me in wisdom so that I might come to understand it better, and remain true to all of your commandments. With your help I will be able to hold fast to your Word, and live. Amen.