Americans make a host of choices every day. Our lives are a smorgasbord. When its time to re-stock the pantry, we can shop at any of a dozen grocery stores. Once the grocer is selected we have hundreds of items and brands from which to choose. Not many Americans like the thought of having only one choice. If one brand doesn’t meet our expectations we simply move on to the next. It’s the American way. From gasoline to cell phones, we demand the right to choose.
There is at least one time in America when having choices cause anxiety. For a Christian, being in the center of God’s will is the ultimate goal. One of the most asked questions I experience as a pastor is, “How do I know what God’s will is?” When faced with more than one path, the Christian gets anxious. Two or three job offers often sends the Christian into a tail spin. After discussing all the options and talking over the details, more often than not I will hear, “I just wish God would tell me what to do. He could just write the answer on my bathroom mirror. Why doesn’t he?”
First, I don’t know any theological reason why God would write on anyone’s mirror. Second, think about how lazy that statement sounds. What a Christian is really saying when demanding God give a quick, easy to follow answer by writing it on their bathroom mirror is this… “God I don’t have time to dig deep into your Word. I don’t have the strength to cry out and wait. I AM HOPELESSLY OUT OF SHAPE SPIRITUALLY. I’m not like the psalmist who loves to meditate on the things of You day and night. I am a lazy American Christian…I want what I want…now please!”
Week nine has presented a host of options to pray through and consider. How will I know the Lord’s will? Prayer and the Word…fasting…spiritual disciplines…and, like the psalmist, crying out to a holy and just God. It’s hard work. But it’s a labor of love.
By the way, did I mention trust? Listen to this story that tells of a time in Abraham’s life when he had to make a choice and did so knowing God’s word and resting in the fact that he could trust God….
Now Abraham was old, well advanced in years. And the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things. 2 And Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his household, who had charge of all that he had, “Put your hand under my thigh, 3 that I may make you swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and God of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell, 4 but will go to my country and to my kindred, and take a wife for my son Isaac.” 5 The servant said to him, “Perhaps the woman may not be willing to follow me to this land. Must I then take your son back to the land from which you came?” 6 Abraham said to him, “See to it that you do not take my son back there. 7 The Lord, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my kindred, and who spoke to me and swore to me, ‘To your offspring I will give this land,’ he will send his angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there. 8 But if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be free from this oath of mine; only you must not take my son back there.” 9 So the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master and swore to him concerning this matter.
(Genesis 24:1-9, ESV)
Here are some facts regarding this passage… Based on Abraham’s knowledge of God’s Word, he knew Isaac needed a wife; she couldn’t be a Canaanite; Isaac couldn’t leave the promised land; his wife would come from Abraham’s family in Macedonia. (All of this knowledge came from Abraham loving to talk with God…my point, if you don’t love to talk to God day by day, you won’t be ready to make a choice tomorrow.)
Now Abraham takes this knowledge and makes a decision. “I’ll send my servant.” (vs 4) The servant agrees to go but asks, “But what if she won’t come?” (vs 5) Abraham says, “Don’t worry, the Lord will send His angel before you! But, if I’m wrong you are no longer obligated.” (vs 8-9)
Abraham was not absolutely certain of his decision; but, based on his history with God and the knowledge of His Word, he was very, very confident. So he said to his servant, “listen, my dear servant, I am as confident about this decision as anything I have ever done. So you go. And take heart: the Lord will send his angel before you.”
This is a beautiful pattern for us to follow…
- Know God so well that you can understand the facts of life as God sees them.
- Align your plans with those facts.
- Take bold steps knowing God is with you!