Life is full of everyday choices. Get up on time or hit the snooze? This shirt or that shirt? Hair up or down? Which route to work to hit the fewest lights and least amount of traffic? And that’s just within the first few hours of your day. I know I don’t even need to address the choice of what’s for dinner!
Life is full of ministry choices. How do I help my friend? In which direction do I take my kids Sunday school class? How do I disciple this new Christian?
Family choices. Personal choices. Choices galore.
But one area in life where many of us fail to realize we have a choice is in the difficulties we face.
For some it’s a struggle in marriage. Perhaps for others it’s adjusting to a new culture and learning a new language. Maybe it’s financial struggles–simply trying to make ends meet. For many it’s just the difficulty of life itself–it just seems that everything is falling apart and you can’t get your head above water. For me it’s a chronic, potentially life-threatening illness.
Many of you are thinking as you read this that you do not have a choice about the difficulty you deal with. And I would have no argument. I certainly have no choice about my illness. I was born with it and I will die with it. No choice given to me in that regard at all.
But I have been given choices that are far more critical than whether I would choose the difficulty God has allowed in my life. And you have been given those choices, too. I’d like to focus on three of those choices:
1. I can choose to trust Him.
When the difficulty comes, you may be very tempted to fear and doubt God, almost so instinctively as though you had no choice about the matter. It is at this point that your choice is critical.
The Psalmist chose to trust in time of fear in Psalm 56:3. “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.”
God has proven Himself and has given us all the reason in the world to trust Him. Psalm 9:10 reminds us that “they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.”
2. I can choose to rest in Him.
The difficulty you face may seem too hard to bear. Perhaps you feel as though you might be crushed under its weight–that surely God gave you too much to carry.
But God never intended for us to carry a crushing wait. He told us in Matthew 11:28-30 to “come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
So do I mean to say that I just sit around all day eating chocolates and relaxing? Hardly. Everyday is a physical struggle for me. By rest, I simply mean I strive to make a conscious decision to not worry and to seek rest in Him. And you can, too.
3. I can choose to be content.
Paul said in Philippians 4:11 that he had learned to be content in whatever state he found himself in. Contentment is a learned behavior. We learn contentment by choosing contentment–even when it seems like we can’t.
So when the difficult times come, remember that even if you had no choice about the actual circumstance, you do have a choice in regards to how you respond. The choice is yours!