Challenges and Decisions!
God leads us to the answers to all of the doubts, questions, issues, decisions, and challenges that appear to undermine our unwavering trust in His constant care.
At times, it can feel as if life consists of one difficult situation, relationship, issue, or decision to make after another. Like ocean waves rolling onto the beach, tough decisions and challenges appear on the shores of our day with inescapable regularity:
- Which school or college should I choose to attend?
- Which sport team should I join?
- What should I do for a summer job?
- How can I get my friend to understand me?
- How can I get a better grade in this class?
- Should I go to this party even though some kids will be doing stuff I don't want to do?
- Should I tell or keep quiet?
- What's wrong with using SparkNotes instead of reading the book?
- Everyone has a cell phone and texts during class; lies occasionally and cheats every so often; speeds while driving…so why shouldn't I?
- How can I convince my parents to trust me?
- What is my purpose?
- What can I do to make a difference in the world?
The scenarios and dilemmas appear to be endless. And they challenge the entire family — adults who want to parent wisely and compassionately, teens who want to express independence of thought and action, and younger siblings who are watching everything and learning by example.
For each age group and every individual, the circumstances weigh heavily and loom large. So, the question really isn't, "Why do I have more or harder challenges to deal with and decisions to make than the other guy?" The key question is, "How can I face these dilemmas more effectively — with less anxiety at the outset and more confidence of a positive outcome?" The answer for anyone is to turn to God as the Source of all solutions and answers.
Turning to God forces us to consider His infinite nature. The more we know of God — the more we know of the qualities God includes — the more we are aware of these qualities and perceive them in our daily lives and in the world around us. The list of qualities is endless (thanks to an infinite God!), and includes ideas like:
God, evidenced through attributes and qualities, leads us to the answers to all of the doubts, questions, issues, decisions, and challenges that appear to undermine our unwavering trust in His constant care.
This month, as a family, search the Bible for examples of God's guidance and direction when a Bible character faces a daunting task or decision or relationship. You might begin by reading the stories of Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Daniel, David, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, Nehemiah, or of the disciples Peter and Paul. As you read these stories, look for the qualities each man expressed as he worked through his ordeal. How important are humility, obedience, persistence, and love in order to solve a problem or resolve a dilemma?
All of these men had to deal with extraordinary challenges and make difficult decisions. All of them turned to God for help, guidance, and protection, and their heartfelt prayers were answered in powerful, transforming ways. Abraham did not lose his son; Jacob was reunited with his brother; Joseph saved a nation and his family; Daniel was safe from the lion's mouth; David overcame Goliath; Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were untouched by the fire; Nehemiah rebuilt the wall; Peter was released from prison; and Paul became one of the most committed early Christians.
Now look at the challenges and decisions that each member of your family is facing, and then consider the presence and power of God's infinite nature to address and ultimately resolve each one. The Bible characters you've been reading about faced tough challenges and hard decisions; each character made mistakes along the way. Yet, all of them were richly rewarded for their confidence in God to guide them every rugged step. All of them led lives that were purposeful and that made a difference. The fact is, they knew God — and that made all the difference.