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Our church search has taken longer than we thought it would.  When we started in August, we figured we’d be narrowing things down by the end of September.  This is mostly for the great reason though that there have just been so many great options out there!  Not mention that you can only visit one church per week.  :)

As our search has narrowed, we attended a membership information dinner at a church in which we are very interested.  As you’d expect, we were seated with people we’d never met.  After going through the buffet for our yummy, “churchy” dinner (green beans, salad, and that oh-so-familiar cheesy hash brown and chicken casserole), we had some discussion questions to share.  One of the questions was “Who is the most influential person in your life?  Who are people in your life outside of your family that you go to for advice?”  I talked about my parents and the several awesome girlfriends that I’ve been blessed with.  Anthony talked about his quartet and other great guy friends in his life.  And then one of the guys at our table started talking about a conversation he had had 41 years ago in which a friend of his described how Jesus Christ had come into his life and changed him.  At that moment, this man’s heart was opened to the Gospel and he, too, became a Christian.  His testimony was amazing for many reasons.  There was one phrase though that stuck out to me.  He was describing the way that God’s grace works and then he said, “There is a very small part that depends on us and God graciously recognizes that.  In His love, he gives of the dignity of being able to choose Him.”

He gives us the dignity of being able to choose Him.

I had never thought about free will in those terms; that it’s a gift, another kindness from the Lord.  To be perfectly honest, I’d always thought of free will as being more about the Lord and His desires.  As I write about it, I recognize the silliness of this–as though God needs my reassurance of choosing Him.  As if He might feel bad about Himself if we loved Him out of obligation.  This perspective on free will makes me that more more humbled and grateful for God’s grace and love.