Thus, and not otherwise, the world was made. Either something or nothing must depend on individual choices.
It must be a function of age but it seems that I am more and more intrigued by how the choices we make affect our lives. Even seemingly small choices can make a big difference. For example, you finally decide to clean out a closet and come across an old picture that looks like a Picasso but you know it could only be a knock-off (what would a Picasso be doing in a Salvation Army closet?). But just to be sure you have it evaluated and while Sotheby’s cannot determine for sure that it is an authentic Picasso, they tell us that the picture is worth thousands. What would have happened if I had simply just thrown it away? Nothing — except we would have been out a few thousand dollars.
The reality is that no matter what the situation, you always have a choice and the choice you make always makes a difference, whether or not we see it or even understand it.
In the film “Whose Life Is It Anyway?” Richard Dreyfuss played the part of a young artist who was paralyzed from the neck down in an automobile accident. The doctors told him he would never paint or sculpt again. He would never leave his bed under his own power. Nor was he ever likely to marry. With that future before him, the young man decided he no longer wanted to live. Death seemed to him to be the best option. The rest of the film detailed his fight to force the doctors to let him die.
Now contrast that fictional situation with the true story of Joni Eareckson Tada. At 17 she was paralyzed from the neck down in a diving accident, and faced a helpless existence as a quadriplegic. She was told she would never feed herself, never drive a car, and most likely never marry. She too wanted to die, and would have committed suicide if she had been able. However, when confronted with the Gospel, Joni chose to follow Christ and to let God bring joy and healing to her life. Now God never “healed” Joni in the traditional sense of the word, but she now paints by holding a brush in her teeth, speaks to audiences across the country, drives a specially equipped van and is married. What could have been the end of her life was only a new beginning.
Now granted we are seldom called upon to make drastic choices such as this. But we do make choices daily that affect our lives in a multitude of ways.
- If someone is rude to you–are you rude back?
- If someone hurts you–do you try to get even?
- Are you quick to judge?
- When faced with a problem, do you look for quick easy answers?
- How faithful are you in fulfilling responsibilities?
- What about your daily time alone with the Lord, reading His Word and praying?
How we choose to respond in any given situation reflects on the outside what is happening on the inside.
Almighty God, You have promised strength for the work of this day, power to handle the pressures, light for the way, patience in problems, help from above, unfading courage, and undying love. In the stresses and strains of living, often I sense my wells have run dry. Life has a way of de-powering me, depleting my resiliency, and draining my patience. People can get me down and perplexities stir me up.
Lord, I pray for a fresh flow of your strength—strength to think clearly, serve creatively, and endure consistently; strength to fill up diminished human resources; silent strength that flows from Your limitless source, quietly filling them with artesian power.
You never ask me to do more than You will provide the strength to accomplish. So make me a riverbed for the flow of Your creative Spirit. Fill this day with serendipities, unexpected surprises of Your grace. Be Lord of every conversation, the unseen guest at every meeting and the guide of every decision. In the name of Him who is the way, the truth and the life.