“It is what it is.” “What will be will be.” “It’s inevitable.” “It’s no use.”
Like me, do you ever find yourself mumbling these kinds of sentiments? If so, it could be that we’re at least occasional fatalists – those who feel powerless and who sadly see all events as painfully inevitable. Prolonged fatalism can lead to hopelessness, bitterness, resentment, and despair in everything from personal relationships to financial decisions to ministry efforts.
Our culture is full of fatalists. We can be this way, too. The grueling nature of life ministry is a fertile breeding ground for fatalism. In a recent conversation about working to help a local school board vote “no” on an immoral sex education curriculum, one pastor responded, “It’s no use. It’s going to pass.” Constant attack and setback make falling into fatalistic patterns easy.
What do our fatalistic attitudes say about God? If we’re honest, our resigned, hopeless sighing is often the same as saying, “You know, God just doesn’t care. He doesn’t have the power to do anything in this situation. It’s no use.” When we hold fatalistic tendencies, we’re basically saying, “God is dead.”
So, are you a fatalist? Maybe sometimes? Maybe in prolonged or in difficult situations like a specific sin-struggle, relational challenge, or in life ministry?
The opposite of fatalism is faith. Faith is God’s gracious gift through Jesus Christ then enables us to see Him accurately and intimately in all the circumstances of our lives. It is with the eyes of faith that we look at our most dire situations and are still able to say, “Good is possible because… God. Yes, God is good. God is alive. God is all-powerful. God is just. God loves me in Christ. God is for me in Christ. So yes, good is possible. All is not lost.”
Here are a few suggestions to help us come out of the darkness of fatalism into the bright light of faith: