Choices. We make them daily and daily they make us.
Lately I have been thinking about choices in light of seeing and catching up with people since being back home. The changes in their lives seem more evident to me - someone who has not seen them for a year and a half.
I rejoice over the "kids" who are graduating and entering college or the next "life" chapter God has opened up for them. It is amazing to see young people discovering and flourishing in their gifts and talents. I delight in the growth of friend's children and the little ones they have welcomed into their world while I was across the globe.
Some people and their professions or activities really haven't changed so much in these past months. But, perhaps they have grown, matured or expanded their vision in some way.
The evidence of some choices is difficult to discern. But over time choices and habits - good and bad - even if apparently small - can and usually do catch up to you.
I grieve over some dear to my heart who have chosen a path - away from God, away from family, and away from an amazing future in the center of God's will. Seeing how far they have continued down this proverbial "wide way" is very saddening.
I am proud of those who in their younger years chose such a "destructive" path, but now are doing their best to "make things right" and regain the life and relationships they lost. I have a cousin who is doing this and I am so proud of her.
For each of these groups of people, and those I haven't mentioned, their lives are and have been shaped by their choices. Some decisions were well thought out and some were rash and almost instaneous, but resulted in life-long consequences. Some have only earthly results, and others have both earthly and eternal repercussions.
I have and do regret the choices I made not to make certain choices, if that makes any sense. And, I am sorrowful over choices made that I would erase in an instant if possible.
During one of our weekly girls' Bible studies on the island, one girl asked me if God knew Adam and Eve would make the choice that they did in the garden why He didn't forewarn them. I am sure that is a question that has been asked everywhere from children's Sunday School classes to university campuses. I attempted to answer Agnes and explain the idea of a free will. After my feeble attempt, I concluded by telling her she could ask God when she got to heaven. : )
God did give us a free will. And I believe it was so that we would choose to love and serve Him, and not be robots that do what they are told because they don't have a choice.
Our days and our lives are filled with choices. And our choices most often determine the next step and our future - earthly and eternal. Our choices affect those around us and those who will come after us.
We do not have to be the product of our circumstances, environment, past, or relationships. God has given us free will and choice for a reason.
"Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, 'Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?' Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, 'Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?' No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it. See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob." - Deuteronomy 30:11-20 (NIV)
Each day we are given a choice - to choose life or death, blessings or curses. We can choose to draw closer to God or walk away from Him. We have the option to recognize Him as "our life" as verse 20 says.
You may have already firmly set your feet on a path of life and blessings by determining to love and please God as He commanded in the above verses. But there are very likely people around you - older, younger or peers - who are struggling with such choices. Some may not realize they even have an option to choose life. Or perhaps do not really understand where their daily and life choices will eventually take them.
Will you choose today to not only pursue life yourself, but help others find that path as well?