We Cannot Manipulate God

by Mark Votava


It seems that when I embrace an openness to humility I do not try to manipulate life to my advantage.  My individualistic ways become transformed into a reverence for the mystery of life.  I start to see the sacredness of all of life.  Simple things fascinate me and bring joy to my life.

And joy is one of those things that has escaped me a lot of times.  I am leaning to take responsibility for my own feelings, especially the negative ones that people usually are uncomfortable about.  It seems that I cannot manipulate God no matter how hard I try.  Even though my life is not turning out how I have expected it to, I am able to move past my blindness and embrace the ordinary things with gratitude.

I am so tired of whining and being resentful every time something doesn’t go my way.  I don’t care anymore.  Seriously.  I am done with all of this and want to live with some serenity and peace.

It seems God is leading me to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.  I definitely need wisdom to know how to live into community, into a way of love, humility and grace.

Sometimes I think that I can manipulate life and God, but I am coming to see that there are some things that I cannot change.  I live with limitations, wounds, weaknesses and my own brokenness.  Perfectionism is not a reality for me and denies my humanity.  I don’t care about manipulating life anymore.

I am done with that.  When I open myself up to allow Christ to live within me in the present moment of life, I am much happier as I begin to understand what love, serenity and compassion are to me.  These are the mysteries and questions that I want to hold near me throughout life.

  •  Christ’s life within us

Christ’s life within us is radical.  It will shake us up out of the status quo.  It will disturb our comfortable theologies of safe religion.  Christ wants to be free to live in our human bodies.

  •  The neighborhood level

Christ wants to be passionate in our human bodies.  Christ wants to live through his body on earth in everyday life in the parish.  Christ is passionate about our world which starts at the neighborhood level.

  •  The status quo must be forgotten

The status quo must be forgotten.  Our passion for Christ living within us will cultivate the mystical imagination that will do away with the status quo.  Passionate lives and status quo living do not fit together.  They will never fit together.

  •  Living passionately

We will live passionately as Christ lives within us.  Our passion can only live when Christ is living within us.  The mystical imagination longs for this to be embodied in our lives together.

  •  Trusting in the mystery of life

We cannot comprehend this completely, but we must trust in the mystery of life within us constantly. We cannot manipulate the life within us.

  •  A God you cannot manipulate

Carl McColman states, “A God you cannot comprehend is a God you cannot manipulate.”

Do you find yourself trying to manipulate God at times?