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The “Right” Choice?

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by Jamie Roach

I remember very clearly when our oldest daughter was struggling with the decision of where to go to college. She was afraid of making the wrong choice. She came into our room with a distressed look on her face and pleaded, “Dad, tell me what I should do. Which is the right choice? Where should I go to college?” As I sat there feeling the pain in her question, I realized that it didn’t matter to me where she went to college, but how she went to college. Whether she went to the local community college or a few hours away to Truman State did not matter to me. What did matter to me is that she would go knowing she was loved, with her heart full of courage, kindness, strength and wisdom.

I wonder if God is more concerned about how and why we do what we do than what and where we do it. To followers of Jesus, Paul advises, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17). In other words, whatever you decide, do it in the same manner as Jesus would if he were you. Should I send my kids to school or opt for online learning? Either can be a fine option but what matters is how you do it. Can you do it in faith, trusting and relying upon God’s grace to sustain you? Can you do it with a heart full of gratitude?

When King Solomon was young, he had a dream in which God said, “What can I give you? Ask.” Solomon said, “Here’s what I want: Give me a God-listening heart so I can lead your people well, discerning the difference between good and evil. For who on their own is capable of leading your glorious people?” He asked for a God-listening heart, or what we might call wisdom. Wisdom or discernment begins with listening to God, not just for the answers but for God’s heartbeat. When our heart is in rhythm with God’s heart, leading our families well is the natural result.

Sometimes we talk about wanting God’s will when what we really want is certainty. It can feel more comfortable to live by answers rather than by faith. But when it comes to love, family, joy, sorrow, life and death, I have discovered there is more beauty, mystery, and wonder than there are answers and certainty. God has sent us the Spirit as our guide, but what does it mean to listen to God practically? Be curious with yourself, asking questions like, “Am I acting in fear or love?” “Am I becoming a more loving person?” And, “What brings me life and joy?” Listen to the truth inside of you and take the next step. Trust your inner voice, the voice of God in whose image you were created. God’s not waiting around the corner to see if we get it right, waiting for us to fail. God is with us in the sorrow, the waiting, and the joy. The promise is God’s presence.

God is with us in the sorrow, the waiting, and the joy.

We are living in anxious times. It is normal and healthy to feel anxiety and experience doubt with so much uncertainty and division swirling around us. By being mindful of God’s Presence with and within us, we can journey through the valley of the shadow of death without being paralyzed by the anxiety, knowing God is with us to guide, comfort and protect us.

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