Some days I wish my world were more like something out of Horton Hears a Who where everyone "eats rainbows and poops butterflies." Instead there are days like today where I feel like I ate some kid's pet pony and pooped out a porcupine. It's an uncomfortable feeling to say the least. As we all know, life is not a world of only rainbows and butterflies. Sometimes life just stinks. We live in a fallen world marred by sin and no matter how much we "confess in faith," "believe without doubt" and hold fast to the truth of God's Word, things still go wrong at times. Is that because God has failed or His Word is not valid? No, God is always faithful and His Word is always a solid foundation on which to build our lives.
Today I faced a decision where doing the right thing meant that no one would win (at least not in the short-term scheme of things). I had to release an employee that had been with me for years because he refused to heed my instructions about caution and safety. I considered this person as not just an employee but a friend that I cared for very deeply. However, after repeated instructions to get this employee to obey certain rules of safety, he continued to cross the line. I had no choice but to remove him from his current assignment and recommend a relocation to a new site. His cavalier attitude toward my warnings were placing his safety and the safety of others in jeopardy - as well as the job security of the rest of the team if something was not done.
To be very blunt about it, the truth is that sometimes making the right decision just sucks. Maybe that's not the language that one should use in Christian blog but it's the truth. I think this is why we so often back off from doing the "right" thing and we choose the "easy" thing instead. It is far easier not to rock the boat and hope that everyone goes on eating those rainbows and pooping the butterflies so we can all just get along. Unfortunately, if we don't correct the problems in our lives, our families, our jobs, and other areas, we will pay a price later on. That price is often far more expensive than the price we pay to deal with the issue now.
I know this employee feels like I have ruined his life at the present. He may always feel that way. I can't control that. Sometimes your kids feel like you are ruining their life when you correct them or tell them "no." Usually with time and maturity, they get over it and come to an understanding of why you were doing it. They realize that it was done from love and compassion rather from just a desire to punish. Hopefully, my friend and former employee will realize this later as well.
OK, so what if you make a decision regarding someone else (whether that be an employee, friend or other loved one) that you think is right at the time but later turns out to be a bad decision? This certainly can happen and often does. The good news is that it's not the end of the world. We are all imperfect and make mistakes. God is still ultimately in control not just of our circumstances but of those around us (even if those around us don't acknowledge Him or follow him - He is still sovereign). If we have sought Him and made our decisions by following Biblical principles and the prompting of the Holy Spirit, He is ultimately responsible for the results - not us.
The best advice I can give on decision making comes from the book of Proverbs in chapter 3 verses 5-6. It says, "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 paths straight."
Trust in the Lord with all your heart: We must acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Lord of our lives, not just as our Savior. It is important to continually confess our dependence upon Him as the one who orders our lives, guides our decisions, and is responsible for the harvest of the seeds we sow when we are honestly striving to live according to His will. We can't compartmentalize our lives and think He is our Savior but not our Lord. Too many times we want to accept His salvation but keep back parts of us for our own control. Honestly, He can do more with our lives than we ever thought about or planned for.
Lean not on your own understanding: This does not mean that we toss away our minds or our reasoning faculties. One of the things that differentiates us from all the other creatures on the planet is our ability to reason and plan instead of living our lives by pure instinct. This is one of the things the Bible means when it says we are "created in the image of God." We have the ability to reason in the abstract. We have the ability to create and invent. We have the ability to use logic. I would argue that all other creatures operate mostly on instinct rather than this ability for abstract thinking, logic, creation and invention. This is what makes us like God (at least - in His image). However, while our minds are powerful, wonderful gifts from God, they must continually be brought under his Lordship by submitting our thoughts and plans to him by obeying Biblical principles and the leading of the Holy Spirit. The mind of man is a wonderful gift from God but is still fallen and must constantly be submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. By doing this, we can rest assured that we have done all we can do to follow God, and the rest is up to him. Always keep in mind that we are the sheep, He is the shepherd. It is the responsibility of the Shepherd to communicate with the sheep. If we are men and women of prayer, Bible study, and Holy Spirit sensitivity, the responsibility for results rests with God, not with us.
In all your ways acknowledge Him: We must daily, and indeed, moment by moment, acknowledge Him as our source for everything. Always remember that there is no such thing as a "self-made" man or woman. Everything we have, everything we are, or everything we ever will be comes from God. I cringe every time I hear someone say they are a self-made man or woman. That is such an arrogant statement. I am a self-made sinner. Anything good that may come from or through my life is because of my dependence on the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit in my daily walk.
He will make your paths straight: In other words, He will remove the obstacles from your path and bring you to your God appointed goal. As I said before, when we acknowledge Jesus Christ as our Lord, seeking Him through His Word, prayer, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the results are up to Him. I am not a producer in the Kingdom of God - neither are you. If you think you are, repent and get over it. Our job is to be faithful, the results belong to God and the glory is His alone. Please understand that I am not in any way denying our responsibility to be faithful. I am just saying that, upon being faithful, we can't take credit for the results. Jesus Christ is Lord of the harvest. We are just those who sow seeds and rejoice when our Savior and Lord is glorified.
In conclusion, when faced with tough decisions, remember to seek the will of God through your salvation in Jesus Christ, prayer, and the sustaining power of the Holy Spirit. Our scriptural obligation is to seek His wisdom through the Bible and the witness of His Spirit within all believers. He is responsible for the results. God is always faithful. My responsibility is to make sure that I am as well. There is no guilt, there is no failure, there is no dead-end when we have met our part of the bargain. We sow the seeds, God handles the results. He is infinite and we are finite. God is in control and we are just along for the ride - but what a ride it's going to be....
Author Bio: My name is Richard Isaacs and my blog site is titled "Musings of a Narnian Expatriate: One Man's Journey to Know God in a Foreign Land." I write and re-post about topics regarding the struggles and joys of being faithful to God in a country that is not our home. If you are a Christian, then you are a citizen of God's Kingdom, yet you are settled in this world for a while - a world which has values and goals which often don't match up with God's desires for his children. I write about what it's like to live in this land until the day we finally get to go "home." You can find me on the web at http://expatblog.richardisaacs.net