Thursday, May 1, 2008

Decision making and the will of God

I had the privilege to sit down with some of our seniors last week and talk about their post graduation plans. Most have, by this time, already decided where they’ll be headed next, either to college, a career, and at least one to the Marines. In some ways, I felt pretty inadequate to give any advice to these students – college has changed quite a bit since I was there (and that wasn’t that long ago). When I was in school only a select few had cell phones – and that was only for emergencies. We’d never heard of texting. Most of us were still using dialup on the internet. In one short decade, things have changed a lot. At the same time, many of the decisions facing these soon to be college students are the same type of decisions people have been facing for as long as folks have been leaving mom and dad and making a life of their own (even back when you had to write your papers on typewriters!). What should I study? What job should I take? Whom should I date? Whom should I marry? Big decisions. Life altering decisions. Stressful decisions.

I hate to break it to these young adults, but the big decisions of life don’t cease once you finish school. Life’s full of what seem to be make or break decisions. Decisions that stress out any sane person. Unfortunately, we Christians sometimes add an extra layer of stress by asking, “What does God want me to do?” Now, that’s not necessarily a bad question, but all of us have had times when we ask that question and find only silence on the other end. And we stress and worry and are afraid that somehow we’ll miss God’s will. Obviously, “God’s will” is a topic that can’t be exhausted in a short devotional like this. But as a first word, let me say to all who face life changing decisions – God’s not out to get you. He’s not trying to trick you. He cares for you. As we studied last night at prayer meeting, he is the Good Shepherd.

Elisabeth Elliot, borrowing Christ’s metaphor, put it this way: “It is manifest that the anxiety that shadowed too many of my days was that I should miss the path of righteousness. Better that anxiety, perhaps, than a cavalier carelessness, but the years have since proved to me over and over again that the heart set to do the Father's will need never fear defeat. His promises of guidance may be fully counted upon. Does it make sense to believe that the Shepherd would care less about getting His sheep where He wants them to go than they care about getting there?” That’s a good word. As much as you want to know God and do his will, God wants that for you even more. He’ll make a way, if you’ll trust in him. We’ll talk more next week about how we can make good decisions while resting in God’s care.

Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

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