A couple, who have become dear friends in recent years, told me yesterday about their positive choice! One year ago, realizing how much alcohol was controlling the lives, making them into people they did not want to be, they chose to ‘get sober.’ With lots of grace from God, encouragement from friends, courage, and willingness to keep making tough decisions – they broke a decade long pattern of drinking and yesterday they celebrated a full year of sobriety. I celebrate their choice even as I know that there are many more days of choosing ahead for them.
How is this new week going to be for you? “What, Jerry? How should I know?” Yes, true; life can change in an instant when the unexpected shows up and yet my question remains. Are you going to choose to live or be content to merely exist?
It’s easy to drift indifferently through life, letting others make the choices, just ‘going with the flow.’ Elie Wiesel, a Jew who was sent to the Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz when he was 15 years old, chose to respond to that unspeakable evil by speaking up, dragging the ugly truth into the open. The horror he experienced there changed him and in a time when most Holocaust survivors remained silent, he became a tireless voice to remind the world of the sufferings of millions then and throughout his life. I love his words – “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of beauty is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, but indifference between life and death.”
This Monday morning, will you heave a sigh, pick up your keys and go to do whatever you must, with a kind of resignation? You could join the Psalmist to declare, “Yes, the Lord is for me; he will help me. I will look in triumph at those who hate me … I thank you for answering my prayer and giving me victory! … This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:7,21,24, NLT) There is choice in the way you enter this new week and if you will look up, give thanks, and take His grace – you can live with joy. One of the greatest gifts God gave us is the power to choose!
Even though we are entrusted with amazing powers to think, to learn, to create, to plan; we all know that we cannot control life. Christians and unbelievers both experience sunshine and storms, sickness and health, and delight and disappointment. We act foolishly if we make boasts, supposedly based in faith, about our ability to bend life to our will. My faith is not in saying the right words or forcing myself to think only positive thoughts that create the outcomes I want today. I believe God! He promises that I will never walk alone, that all my days are in His hands, and that my eternal life is secured by a covenant written by Him, sealed by the gift of the life of His Son at the Cross, and confirmed by His resurrection. So, I choose to walk with Him.
Joshua, near the end of his faith-filled life, called the leaders of God’s people together. His challenge echoes down through 3 millennia to us. “Fear the Lord and serve him wholeheartedly. … Serve the Lord alone. But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. … But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:14-15, NLT) What a challenge, what a choice!
Make it a good week – one choice, one day, at a time – focused on Jesus, His goodness, and the amazing grace of God.
Abba, this brand new week is full of possibilities.
Give me eyes to see them and courage to choose them!
When I allow indifference and laziness to bring on deadly drift,
Stir me, Holy Spirit, to stand, to speak, to work, to be full of faith.
I am thankful for the freedom from sin and Self
That is mine in Christ Jesus.
Help me to use that freedom for your praise.
Fill me, use me, and may I live beyond regret.
In Jesus’ Name. Amen