"The scary thing about God is not that He gets His own way, but that He lets us have ours." -Vincent Beiler
Vincent stood and said this after a sermon on Jonah. I've been thinking about it ever since.
Choice, sin, and all such things we so easily misunderstand. So easily we cast God as an egotistic tyrant who makes rules He knows we'll break so He can punish us for them!
I think Tolkien was saying the same thing as Vincent in a scene with Gandalf and Bilbo. Gandalf sees Bilbo's almost innocent infatuation with the Ring of Power, and advises Bilbo to leave the Ring behind when he sets out on his last adventure.
Bilbo, just like Gollum when the Ring began to consume him, body and mind, hisses, "Why shouldn't I keep it? It's mine! It came to me!"
Gandalf stands to an intimidating height and bellows, "I am not trying to rob you!" Then, more gently, "I am trying to help you."
It's because God knows how quickly we serve and ruin ourselves, how willingly we choose our own destruction, that He tells us how to live. Yet He loves us enough to still let us choose.
Amazing. I am in awe... especially when I know a little bit of the heartbreak He must feel when we sin and face our consequences. It's shattering. And still He waits and loves.
All this to say that my view of God is still being deconstructed.