Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted to a discussion of a blog entry at this site:
hopefully for your sake you have more of a plan than praying.
God helps those who help themselves, What. So I certainly need to work it myself in addition to saying my prayers.
But it is in God’s hands, not mine. If God doesn’t mean for this to happen, it’s not going to happen, no matter how hard I work it.
I had a discussion about this with my mother shortly before she died. She said that maybe all that I am trying to teach people is going to become widely accepted after my death. Oh, great! I hate that idea.
It was just like my mom to say that, though. My favorite trait of hers is that she was not one to sugarcoat. So I have to accept that she might be right.
Why would God do that to me? It sounds almost like a trick.
It could be that He wanted me to learn patience or compassion. There might be some lesson in all this that I am today oblivious to that I can only become aware of by experiencing whatever I will be experiencing as the days move on. Perhaps I really will be put to death, you know? Perhaps there is some lesson that I can only learn by being put to death and God knows that it is only re this issue that I could ever possess the courage needed for things to reach that point (the issue of standing by your friends on the internet really does touch me in a way that not too many other issues do).
If that’s God’s plan, that’s God’s plan. I don’t want it to be so, I don’t like the idea one little bit. But I pray that I have the courage to accept God’s plan here without too much whining.
I don’t control the world, What. I don’t pretend to. I am some guy who figured out how to get posts to appear on internet discussion boards, nothing more and nothing less. I don’t think that I even possess a master plan, in the way you suggest. The plan I follow is that I wake up each morning, turn on my computer, handle what is in front of me that day, turn off the computer and go to sleep. I try as hard as I can to understand the other fellow’s point of view and to be kind and polite when doing it. I also try to be firm about honesty on important matters, not to give in to pressures applied to me to get me to say things I don’t believe to be so. That’s the plan, in summary form.
Following that plan has taken me to some mighty strange places over the past 11 years. I’ve seen amazing things, both positive and negative. I’ve never been under the illusion that I controlled how things turn out. I control one tiny little piece of the world, the posts that show up under the name “Rob Bennett.” That’s all.
I do believe that God put me here to do this work. He doesn’t speak to me in a direct way. I hear him speaking to me in an indirect way and that’s the message I hear. But I’ve been wrong about that sort of thing before and it could be that it’s happening again. But I personally believe that God put me here to do this work all the same.
I don’t pray often. But I do on occasion pray for help and courage. I would phrase things the opposite of the way you did. I would say that I need to continue exerting my efforts but that I need to accept that those efforts will not be nearly enough, that I am not going to prevail here without God’s help. I would say that I would be foolish to think that my efforts alone are going to be sufficient.
Safe withdrawal rates matter, What. I believe that. But I also believe that in the grand scheme of things they may not matter all that much. It could be that in the grand scheme there are things going on here that matter more than the investing topics matter. Thinking along those lines gets a bit too cosmic for me, so I don’t spend much time doing it. But I think that’s a possibility. I certainly think it would be a terrible mistake for me to make safe withdrawal rates so important that I would be unkind to you or one of my other Goon friends. I don’t believe that I have ever been unkind to any of you and I certainly pray that I never cross that line.
Take good care, my old friend.