Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Choices

It was a beautiful 40 degree spring day.
I'm on a chair lift surrounded by picturesque mountain beauty enjoying a smooth and easy ride to the top.
Idyllic was the perfect word describing that moment.

Three minutes later I had a new adjective: terrified.
I am flying over packed snow on two thin pieces of, what are they, wood? plastic? what difference does it make - the point is, it's not a lot!

My arms and poles are flailing wildly (aren't things that are flailing always doing so wildly? anyway...)
Adrenaline, produced by pure panic is coursing through my heart that is way above an acceptable aerobic heart rate.
I should not have come down this run (and that might well be the understatement of the year)!

But this was the choice that I had made.
Did I know what I was getting into when I'd made this choice? I thought so.
Was my understanding accurate? Not at all.
Was I experiencing the consequences of my decision? Absolutely.

My beautiful, enjoyable, and easy ride had brought me to this place.

In Matthew 7: 13,14 there is reference to two paths available to follow. "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." This scripture references the way to get to heaven as small, narrow, and difficult. The way to hell is broad, wide, and easy.

Often we find that to be also true in other choices in our lives. How often is the easier choice the best one? And we know full well how often the best choice is the one that is going to be more difficult.

In John's Bunyan's book Pilgrims Progress, Pilgrim and his fellow traveler were instructed to stay on the narrow way, no matter what.
The allegory goes on though to show how several times it was so much easier to walk along the broad path, for just a little way, because it was smoother and more pleasant and each time, they ended up in trouble.
When the Bible says to us "Thou shalt not..." God is really saying "Don't do this because it will hurt you."

Yet we still make the wrong choices.

Do we know what we're getting into when we make these choices? We think so.
Is our understanding accurate? Not at all.
Will we experience the consequences of this decision? Absolutely.

Does God forsake us when we've done this?

Hmmm?

Does He?

When we leave his way, when we sin, when we reject his commands and decide instead to forge our own path, does God turn his back and give up on us?

I will never leave you or forsake you. Hebrews 13:5

I created you and have cared for you since before you were born. I will be your God throughout your lifetime - until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you. Isaiah 46:3

And I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ comes back again. Philippians 1:6


God has committed Himself to us.

This is why we have a great High Priest who has gone to heaven, Jesus the Son of God. Let us cling to him and never stop trusting him. This High Priest of ours understands our weakness, for he faced all of the same temptations we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it. Hebrews 4:14- 16

If we confess our sin, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness - I John 1:9


God invites us to come back to Him.

And this is my favorite verse of all:

If we are unfaithful,
He remains faithful,
for he cannot deny himself.
I Timothy 2:13


We may be unfaithful,
but God's faithfulness is not dependant on how reliable we are.
God's love is not determined by how much we love him for "He first loved us." (I John4:19)

If I make the wrong choice, God does not abandon me.
"The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. (Psalms 34:17) but it's up to me to call.

So, as the Holy Spirit says:
"Today, if you hear his voice,do not harden your hearts."
Hebrews 3:7,8

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