There is a line in America called the Continental Divide, high in the Rocky Mountains that separates east from west. The water that falls on the mountains is not different on one side or the other, but a drop that falls on the west side of the Continental Divide will eventually flow to the Pacific Ocean while a drop that falls on the east side will flow down to the streams and rivers to either the Gulf of Mexico or out to the Atlantic. The drops of rain have no choice in where they fall, but their outcome is vastly different. Some people live their lives as though their choices do not matter. If they fall of the left or on the right, they do not seem to care, but the end result of their choices can impact them for a lifetime.
We all make choices every day. At the time a simple choice is made it may not seem significant. But all of our choices have ramifications that can influence our lives for years to come. Consider for a moment the way you chose what college to attend, what career to pursue, what state to live in or even who to date or marry. In my case, all of these began with one decision. I had received a scholarship to attend a university on the east coast but could not make it work financially. So instead of staying on the east coast I left and attended a university in my home state of Colorado. While that choice may not seem significant, God was in control all along and He had a plan that included me attending that school in Colorado. It was there that I determined to get in to ministry. It was there that I determined to attend graduate school and found my career. And it was at that university that I met and dated my wife.
The choice to stay at one university over another or to take one class over another, or even to live on campus or off all seem somewhat mundane. None of these choices were monumental at the time, but each one lead to an outcome that has shaped my life for these last 30 years. The choices we make are important. And since we may not be able to see the larger picture, we must trust that God is helping us along the way. One of my and my wife’s favorite passages is out of Proverbs chapter 3. Verses 5-6 tell us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.” These two verses have been key for us in our 28 years of marriage. Look at them with me…
First it says to “trust in the Lord with all our heart”. We can’t trust in Him half way. When we make choices they must be based on His word and an understanding of what God would want. He loves us and cares for us more than we will ever comprehend. So that means that we can trust Him. If we are making choices that correspond with His Word, then they will be good for us. When we make choices that do not correspond with His word, then we may face adverse consequences. Secondly it says, “and do not lean on our own understanding”. When we try to lean on our own understanding we only see the situation from our perspective. But He is so much bigger than we are. We can trust that He has it all under control. It may not seem like a wise choice to leave a school where you have a scholarship to go to one where you may not have any assistance at all, but God was in control. And He provided in amazing ways.
The passage then proceeds to tell us that we must, “acknowledge Him in all our ways and He will make our path straight.” The idea here in the Hebrew is to “know” God and what He desires, and to follow that. If we know that we should not steal or cheat, but we do anyway, we will face the consequences. However, when we refrain from doing evil and chose to do what is right, we are acknowledging Him and He will make our path straight. His ways are always best, but we have to be in tune with Him to see His ways. One way to be in tune with God is to be in His word, the Bible.
We all make choices, the question is, what are we basing our choices on? The world? Our desires? What our friends tell us? Or are we seeking God to help us make the right choices for our lives? Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.