The beauty of choice. We all have been created with the ability to choose. Some decisions are easy, some not so easy. Some daily, some come on occasion. Some require a simple nod of a yes, some the willpower to go against every fiber of your earthly being screaming the opposite.
Two weeks ago, I was able to take a Saturday off and go to the beach for a day of quiet relaxation, very much needed after a rough week. Being encouraged to take some time apart from the group to sit in the presence of God, I made my way down the beach and settled into my spot.
Almost immediately as I sat down, the thoughts began crashing in, louder than the waves on the shore. Recounting the events of the past few weeks, it just didn’t seem fair. I didn’t know how to understand it or how to process it. I didn’t, and still don’t, have answers for the hard questions and the feelings of fear, uncertainty, injustice, or hopelessness that came with them.
I’m learning (which does not mean I’m good at it) that I don’t necessarily need the why, but have to ask the questions of how. So, once my mind was quieted of all those whys, I was able to ask: “How do you want to me walk through this, God?”, “How or what do I learn from this?”, “How is this going to reveal and glorify you?”
He brought a few verses to mind:
“The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5
But God, it sure seems like the darkness is winning.
“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will act.” Psalm 37:5
What’s happening doesn’t seem like an act of God.
“Commit your work to the Lord and your plans will be established.” Proverbs 16:3
Where is the established plan, God? I don’t see it.
And then as if God was a little bit exasperated with my excuses, one simple word command: CHOOSE
And a question: What are you going to choose? Are you going to choose to trust these truth verses I have given you, that the darkness will never overcome Light, that I will always act, and that I will establish plans and all the rest of My truths?
I believe this is where you could say “mic drop.” Not that God had that attitude, but it played out like that in my head, at least. The word choose fell sharp and direct on my heart. It was not a sweet, coddling, “now, now dear” moment. I felt like a child who had just been chastised. Then silence, waiting for me to make my decision. It was up to me if I was going to choose to trust or continue in the obscurity of doubt. I had thrown my excuses and complicated explanations at the throne of God. And he had responded, “Choose. Stop making it too complicated and choose; it’s a simple yes, a surrender to My sovereignty.”
His truth doesn’t change based on the situations around me.
Nor does it change based on how I feel about it.
So needless to say, I was humbled….a lot, by this much-needed, yet still gracious “lecture” from God. Sharp enough to be perfectly clear, yet compassionate enough to remind me the freedom we gain from trust. Like the good Father He is, he wants us to trust him so that we experience peace (Isaiah 26:3), joy (Psalm 28:7), growth (Jeremiah 17:7-8), His presence (Isaiah 43:2). It’s my, our, decision to trust these truths. We have to choose.
“Choose this day whom you will serve, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15
This verse from Joshua was a resounding theme when I returned to the states the beginning of February for my grandpa’s funeral. Many spoke about how the way in which he lived shouted this verse, how it was a theme for his life. He had quoted it frequently, and not only spoke it, but acted it. And the results were evident that he and, because of his influence, his house had indeed chosen to serve the Lord.
That verse and thought came to my mind as well that day on the beach. I processed through the basics of what it looks like to choose to serve the Lord. There is the first decision of choosing the Lord in salvation, but then what does it look like on a daily basis? I don’t believe my grandpa one day stated “I choose to serve the Lord.” and that was it. No. I know for a fact it was because he made everyday choices to honor the Lord. The way he worked, the way he spoke, the way he loved, the way he lived. In the little everyday things, which as was shown, made up the big things.
The choice to have a kind voice instead of a harsh tone.
The choice to speak blessings and promises instead of grumbling and complaining.
The choice to take God at His word instead build a wall of doubt.
The choice to let hope have a home in our hearts, instead of giving rule to feelings.
Daily choices, not a one and done thing. We have to choose to make our daily choices reflect the decision of trusting the truths God gives us in His word, not based on our feelings, not based on circumstances, but based on the God we serve.
That day on the beach, I chose to believe those truths. Every day I have to choose to believe those truths. It doesn’t really feel nice and fuzzy. There aren’t always cozy feelings because I still know the circumstances, I still know the suffering. But I’m choosing to believe God is who He says He is and will do what He says He’ll do in the midst of it all.