When Decisions are Hard

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There comes a day when we find ourselves in a situation where right and wrong are not so clearly defined and every choice we have seems to be a troubling mixture of good and bad. We pray, believing that God indeed will give us wisdom and strength to do the “right” thing. We search the Bible with open hearts, looking for God’s will in a situation that perhaps the Bible does not directly address. While we are doing this, the situation continues to develop and either by deliberate action or by default we have to make decisions, ready or not. And in those times of great struggle, the last thing we want is for others to make simplistic moral judgments about us … Only God knows the end of our story from its beginning … Our God is so gracious and omnipotent that he is able to use that weak link (a ‘“wrong” decision’) in a chain of events that will perfect his will in and through us.

~ Karen H. Jobes, Esther: The NIV Application Commentary, pp. 114-115.

I am studying the book of Esther at the moment, for a talk I will be presenting next month, and this is an excerpt which made an impression. It relates to the complexity and moral ambiguity of decisions that Esther faced, and is a bridge with our own experience, when we too come up against decisions that are not easily made. The grey decision, its end this “troubling mixture of good and bad.” The silent decision, the gates of heaven, impenetrable to our prayer. The vulnerable decision, that seems to ask of us something we are unable to give. And though we might wish for more time, until things become clear, until we feel ready, time can show little pity.

What held me though as I read over these words again, these words about how complex decisions can be, and how easy it is to make a mistake,  were two things. First, this line, “in those times of great struggle, the last thing we want is for others to make simplistic moral judgments about us.” That God calls us instead to believe the best of each other. To be kind. Our eyes after all are not open to the most intimate details of each other’s lives. The complex weave of each other’s circumstances and histories and struggles. The way these weigh heavy, on us, and our choices. That it is only God who sees all, and knows all – and loves, completely. It is only God to whom we are ultimately answerable. As well, was the thought about the judgment of ourselves. This can be worst of all. The self-recrimination. The regret. May we learn to speak to ourselves with the grace and gentleness with which He speaks to us.

And the other thought, the way that God can redeem. How far we can go, how low we can fall, how often the same prayer, for the same forgiveness, on our lips. But ours is a God of compassion, whose nature it is to always show mercy. Because of Jesus. And not only to show mercy, but to redeem. His thread of amazing grace weaving our weakness into a garment of praise. Our song all the more beautiful, for His glory upon us, and His love. 

 
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~ by Birgit on October 7, 2012.

 
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