Thursday, April 7, 2016

You Can't Always Choose, or Can You?

"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him" (James 1:12).

Wouldn't you agree that life is simply not fair?  Between difficult circumstances and heartbreaking disappointments, sometimes life just happens.  We cannot always choose the hand we are dealt, but we can choose how to play the hand.

We can't control the senseless tragedies that occur, the loss of innocent lives, or the ill health that hits us, often without warning.  We can't control terrorism, rampant immorality, or the epidemics of substance abuse, human sex trafficking, and crime.  We certainly can't predict the weather or the natural disasters that wipe out entire populations.

Most of us wake up in the morning grateful to have been given one more day to live. Yet we are not guaranteed that we will live to see its end.  We go about our business making choices -- what to wear, what to pack in our kids' lunches, or what movie to see when the weekend finally arrives -- but are we making choices that have lasting value?  At the end of the day can we look back and say that we chose wisely or that our choices made a positive difference in someone else's life?

It has been said that we can't always choose what happens in life, but we can choose how we respond to the unexpected, unfair circumstances that we suffer from time to time.  We can choose to believe in God when we see no evidence of Him in our culture.  We can walk in faith when our eyes see only grim reality. We can count on God being in control when the world is spinning wildly out of control. It all boils down to choice.

Our choices affect those around us, even those we do not know.  Next time you are stuck in traffic -- not by choice -- will you choose to be thankful for the delay or angry because of it?  When that test result yields bad news, will you choose to praise God and live with the kind of faith that will encourage others fighting the same battle?  Only you can choose to take the high road -- no one is going to do it for you.

Scripture tells us that we will have bad days (John 16:33), that people will mistreat us (Matthew 5:11), and that we should "be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).  That can be a very difficult thing to do, can't it? But the Bible also tells us "I can do all this through him who gives me strength" (Philippians 4:13).

When life leaves us weak-kneed and trembling, we can rest in the assurance Christ gives us:  "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Copyright © 2016 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved.

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