I was recently asked whether a decision that I had made, not to allow something to take place for the safety of a child, was me being fatalistic or not. Now, whether or not I had been fatalistic is not my reason for this post. Rather, I would like to share from my musings, as this has had me thinking quite a bit. For one, what if my decision had been the opposite? In other words, what if instead, I had allowed the event to take place? I might then have been questioned on whether or not I was acting out of presumption that the child would be safe. Both fatalism and presumption are two Godless ways that we easily entertain in our lives.
Fatalism is often fear driven, while presumption is based on false or unsound assurance. While fatalism acts apart from faith, presumption often masks itself as faith in action. For example, a villager might never venture outside of his hut for fear of a lion. Now, unless he knew of a lion outside, we would say that he is being fatalistic. On the other hand, someone may nonchalantly or even prayerfully venture up to a lion thinking that he is safe, and be attacked. That would be presumption! It is because neither are based on God’s word that they are flawed and bound to fail. While these illustrations are obvious, we should realize that our every day choices are so easily based on us being fatalistic or acting in presumption. As a result, fatalism can keep me from doing what I should be doing, while presumption can even have me doing “good” things, but not what God had in mind.
So, how do you know if you are acting on presumption or being fatalistic? And, what is the antidote to these? Well, being level headed is the obvious and correct answer, but who can safely be level headed all of the time? Obviously, none of us! That is one reason why God’s Word instructs us not to lean on our own understanding, but rather to acknowledge God in all of our ways. The other more important reason is that we were meant for a life that honors God, demonstrated by our dependence on Him. Acknowledging God in all our ways is a life of faith. Simply put, this is being in God’s presence, listening to Him in all the details of life and, in His Spirit, acting on His leading.
God’s Word says, “…whatever does not proceed from faith is sin” and also “Faith comes from hearing… the word of God”. So, without God speaking to us, we cannot know what to believe and do, and any action without God’s word is presumption. Presumption and fatalism (which is just one form of presumption) is based on wrong belief or unbelief. Let’s instead enjoy God’s presence and allow ourselves to be moved by His Word and His Spirit! As it is written, “Let us confidently draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace in time of need” Heb. 14:16.