One of my classes has a discussion about “free will.” It made me think about how out of all of God’s earthly creations, humans are unique because we have free will, and we have the ability to think and to rationalize. My cats cannot accept Christ as their Lord and Savior, and no matter how smart dolphins or certain primates might be, they cannot be a follower of Christ. We are the only ones made in the image of God and we are the only ones who can be called “the children of God” (Matt 5:9). Since we have free will, we can choose how we respond to a life circumstance– we can praise God even when things are not so good, or we can “curse God and die” (Job 2:9). We can choose to follow God or not (Josh 24:15). The choice is ours. What do you choose?
I sat down today and thought about all the “forks in the road” that could have led to a much different life for me.
Some of these “forks” were faced by my parents and others were the ones I faced, but each one resulted in where I am today.
The major “fork” that my parents had was to stay married or get divorced. When I was a child, I imagined what it would have been like for them to stay together— my mother wouldn’t have married my step-father and my life might have been more stable. I used to spend a lot of time wondering what that might have looked like. Now I know that it was just a waste of time.
One of the “forks” I faced was to get sterilized or not get sterilized. I chose to get sterilized after four children and two miscarriages. There are days when I regret that decision and I wonder what it would have been like to have more children. The days I spent mourning my decision was also a waste of time.
Sometimes we make bad decisions and sometimes people make a choice that we just have to “live with.” Even though we replay these things in our heads and wish that we can go back in time and do things differently, we can’t do anything to change the past.
I used to have a lot of guilt about the “forks” I had taken, but I realized that God had allowed me to take these various paths. If I wasn’t supposed to take them then He would have done something to prevent me from taking them.
Sometimes the path is difficult and full of heartache, but even then I have to realize that it’s the path He wanted me to take. I can’t waste my time thinking about things that “could have been” because there’s a reason why I was on that path and not on the other. If my mind and heart are elsewhere then I won’t be alert to what I’m supposed to see and experience.
I had a very difficult childhood because of the “fork” my parents took, but looking back I think that experience has made me more aware of the issues that some children and teenagers face when in a similar situation. I want to tell them to cling to God no matter how bleak their circumstances are at the moment; and I want to encourage them to never give up, to look up and to look ahead.
Although I regret some of the “forks” I had taken, I need to stop feeling guilty and sad. I think discouragement happens when we focus on our past and lose sight of everything else. I need to “look up” and “look ahead”— to fix my attention on God and to concentrate on the future.
“For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He holds success in store for the upright,
he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
for he guards the course of the just
and protects the way of his faithful ones.
Then you will understand what is right and just
and fair—every good path.
For wisdom will enter your heart,
and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
Discretion will protect you,
and understanding will guard you….
Thus you will walk in the ways of the good
and keep to the paths of the righteous.”
(Proverbs 2:6-11, 20)
Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti
We make choices every day. Sometimes we are so preoccupied with our lives that we forget that we are even making these choices. Sometimes our choices are simple, such as a choice of how we will act or react during the day— we can be cranky or “down,” or we can be thankful for being alive (Psalm 118:24).
Sometimes our choices are more complicated— our decision can impact not only our lives but the lives of our loved ones. How do we approach these “forks in the road”? Do we really think about the possible consequences of a particular action before we act? Do we even ask and wait for God to give us guidance?
If you are faced with a difficult choice, then follow the advice found in Psalm 27:14, “Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.” In James 1:5 it says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” God wants what is best for you so wait for Him to help you choose the right choice.