Am I God’s Puppet?

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Am I God’s puppet? What about free will? I was reading a book about prayer the other day where the writer told a cool story about how she was praying for her daughter to have a Christian friend and another mom was praying for her daughter to find a Christian friend. The two moms didn’t know each other, but their daughters eventually met and became best friends. God was answering two prayers simultaneously. The writer talked with delight about how God was like a “puppeteer.”⁠

I loved the story, and I love it when I can peek behind the scenes and see God’s loving hand at work in human lives, but the idea of God as a puppeteer struck me as problematic. It’s a mechanical view of God and humans. It doesn’t leave room for free will, for mystery. It doesn’t make space for love’s invitation to go forth and for us to choose to receive it and respond.⁠

I mentioned this to Peter, and he said, “What if you thought instead about God being a conductor of an orchestra?” We played out the image together—God is the one overseeing it all. God is the one making sure that practices happen, that music gets played. But each of us has a part to play. There’s a dynamic, relational, invitational action involved between the players and the conductor in contrast to seeing myself as God’s puppet.

I think I miss my cues a lot of the time. But I am grateful for the invitation to participate in this grand offering of what I believe will become beautiful music.


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Hi, I’m Amy Julia.

I write about faith, family, disability, and privilege.

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