18 08 2014

A few years ago one of our sons was agonizing over a life-changing decision. His life had reached a fork in the road and he wasn’t sure which way to go. He came to me and asked, “How do you know what God wants you to do? How do you make the right decision?” He said he had prayed over the issue but just wasn’t seeing any signs. He felt God was not responding to his prayers.


Everyone has made life-changing decisions at some point, and many of us have found ourselves in the same position as my son-agonizing over what to do. In 1980, when I was given the opportunity to take a new job in Durham, it seemed like a no-brainer. It was a good opportunity…a big increase in pay and a logical next step in my fledgling safety career. But, it would mean moving my family to another town. My wife and I discussed it endlessly. We made lists of the pros and cons. I prayed about it, thinking, God would give me a sign. I’m not sure what I was expecting to happen. What kind of sign would I see?


OUR Decisions Shape OUR Lives

I never saw any signs from God; at least not any that I recognized. Maybe God, unbeknown to me, influenced my decision because He wanted us here. There are more questions than answers, but here is something I know for sure-life is what you make it. We are given the free will to make the choices that shape our lives. Like a carpenter builds a house, we build our lives. Just as God gave Adam and Eve the freedom to choose between obedience and disobedience, He gives us the freedom to make decisions which can affect generations to come. God already knows what those decisions will be.


I look at all the truly wonderful things that have happened to us over the past 34 years, since coming to Durham, and there is no doubt I made the right choice. But, if I had chosen otherwise, I have no doubt my wife and I would have been happy. While serving in the Coast Guard, we were happy at every duty station. As long as we were together with our kids, we were happy in all of our circumstances. Oh, but wait…suddenly ,I realize that the decisions we make aren’t about us. Life, itself, isn’t about us or our happiness. Instead, it’s about God and how He can use us in our circumstances wherever that might be. Happiness will follow.


So, it comes down to this-in this case, at least, there was no wrong decision. I believe the same thing is true about my son’s decision, as well. He made the right decision and his family has been happy.  More importantly, God has used him and his wife in ways they have not realized.


1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us, “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” It makes no difference where we are or our station in life, God can use us wherever we are, and that should be our focus-serving God. He’ll take care of the happy thing.




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