Last week I wrote the first of a handful of posts on the subject of making decisions and seeking to determine the will of God for our lives. In considering this topic, I had in mind especially high school and college graduates who are sailing on unfamiliar waters. But the principles laid out are for the old as well as the young, as we inevitably come to the crossroads and plead, “Help! What should I do?”
In that first post, my point was simply to state that at some point we are all going to face a major decision, one that we alone are responsible for making.
Before getting to the actual process of how we make a decision (that’s the next post, God willing), I want to point out what it is that causes the decision-making process to be so difficult.
The fact that determining the will of God is difficult hardly needs proving. Most of us have been there and know what it’s like. It’s just plain tough. Inside rages a ferocious struggle: “Do I go with Option A or Option B?” We marshal all the pros, and agonize over the cons. We feel nervous, worried, anxious, scared. We sweat just thinking about our predicament. We cry hot tears of anger and frustration. We toss and turn in bed until the wee hours of the morning. And still we don’t know. “Which is it, A or B?”
The fact is that making big decisions is one of the hardest things we will ever have to do.
But why? Why is it that making these decisions is so tough?
I think the difficulty lies in the fact that we can’t see the future. Or, to put it another way, it’s the uncertainty of it all. If only we could take a peek into the future, then making these decisions would be the proverbial piece of cake. If we could have just a quick glance into the future, then we could see the consequences of our choices. We could see whether our choices were going to be right or wrong, whether we would be happy or miserable. But, because we can’t see the future and we can’t protect ourselves from wrong decisions and bitter consequences, we agonize over what to do.
Some mistakenly think that God will show them the future. They think that God will somehow mysteriously tell them what they ought to do. They think God is like a magic eight ball who will somehow reveal to them in a special way what they are supposed to do in a difficult situation. And until they get that special revelation from God, they are going to sit and wait and postpone every major decision and do nothing.
But God does not work that way. God does not whisper in our ear and tell us what college we are to attend or what major we are to pursue or what house we should buy. And we are wrong to expect that of God. God is too wise to reveal to us the future. Obviously, God could do that, because, as Isaiah 46:10 says, God “declar[es] the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.” But God does not do that, and because he doesn’t we can expect that making a big decision is going to be tough.
Other posts in this series:
This post was written by Rev. Joshua Engelsma, pastor of Doon Protestant Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa.