Decisions, decisions

Every Christian must find some sort of biblical harmony between human decision-making & God’s will. What follows is a piece of correspondence (edited & redacted) I sent to a friend who is facing a significant decision in the coming months:

As a fellow “brooder” I wanted to encourage you to rest in God’s goodness & providence as you weigh your options.

To date the biggest decision that I’ve had to make was whether or not I should leave a college ministry for local church ministry (the decision to marry my wife was a no-brainer). The opportunity came during a particularly fruitful season of ministry at the college so it was a tough decision . . . My time in the Word & prayer didn’t result in specific direction. Ultimately, I considered that while fruitful ministry could be had in either place, a move would bring distinct advantages for our family. I chose option #2 and we moved.

In hindsight I think we made the right decision but at the time I agonized through the process & even second-guessed myself after the move . . . Here’s what I wished I would have considered some 10 yrs ago and what I hope will encourage you:

  1. Be confident in God’s goodness. It may be that God has only one “right” [path] for you. If He does He will make it known to you because He is a good & loving Father. If He brought you to Himself when you weren’t even looking for Him you can certainly trust Him to bring you to His chosen [path] when you do seek Him (Mat 7:7-11). The one who gave up His Son for you will not turn around and be stingy in giving direction (Rom 8:32).
  1. Be confident in God’s providence. It may be that God doesn’t see fit to reveal a specific [path]. If clear direction is lacking it’s not because God is inactive:
  • He is giving you wisdom as you ask for it (Prov 2:6-8; James 1:5ff).
  • He has (already) provided you with godly people who can offer wise counsel (Prov 11:14; 15:22).
  • Even now He’s directing “your” plans. He’s at work even when you can’t see it or comprehend it (Prov 16:9; 20:24).
  1. Whether He says “go here” or “choose wisely” walk through this season by faith. A number of thoughts could be offered here but I’ll keep it to one. In my limited experience it seems that we often assume that the right decision will result in an easy path (and vice versa). Such thinking is difficult to square with Scripture. Once you pitch your tent in a strange, new land don’t allow potential hardships to lead you to the conclusion that you somehow “missed it.” Whatever may take you by surprise is no surprise to Him. Ultimately, His will for you is more about sanctification than [location] which means that sometimes being in the right place means we run into tests and trials.

I know this process can be exciting & daunting but the Lord will be faithful. Please let us know how we can best pray for you as events unfold.

‘It’s a God thing’

Our church recently had a staff member who surprised everyone by taking a position at another church. In and of itself such moves aren’t all that shocking except that in this case said staffer’s tenure hadn’t even reached a full six months. Mr. X, we hardly knew ye.

Before I continue I should go on record as saying that I don’t have any ill-feelings toward the man nor is this post intended to critique the circumstances & decision surrounding his departure. I do, however, want to consider his primary rationale for leaving because so many other Christians have expressed a similar justification for a host of other moves executed in dating, marriage, career choice, church choice, procreation, recreation, etc.

You’ve seen it & heard it. It’s the Christian trump card. How & when to play the card will vary but the player who lays it down will declare something like “it’s a God thing”, “it’s the Lord’s will”, or “the Lord is leading me/has told me to…” Some thoughts:

1. “It’s a God thing” isn’t a unique insight. Everything is a “God thing” (Job 37:6-13; Prov 16:33; 20:24; Acts 17:28). The expression shouldn’t preempt discussion & inquiry; it should solicit further explanation.

2. Claiming “it’s a God thing” doesn’t leave us unaccountable for our actions. God works all things after the counsel of His will (Eph 1:11) and we’re responsible for our actions (see Gen 50:20; Acts 4:24-28).

3. If “it’s a God thing” we shouldn’t fear exposure to the light. When we feel the need to maintain secrecy or to move in the shadows we cast doubt on our claim to be enacting God’s will (Jn 3:20). What would we have to hide?

4. “A God thing” is about more than just the end result. God is certainly concerned with what we do/choose but He’s also just as concerned (in some cases more so) with how we act/choose (Zec 7:5-6; 1Cor 13:1-3; James 1:20; 4:3). 

5. Claiming “it’s a God thing” is often a cover for intellectual laziness.
If we can’t ground our actions/decisions on Scripture we’re just moving by human impulse. As Christians, we’ve been given access to God’s mind by the ministry of His Spirit through His written word  (1Cor 2:12-13; Rom 12:2; 2Tim 3:16-17).

%d bloggers like this: