God's Will and Multiple Choices

Years ago, when our children were not yet grown (but well on their way), my wife, the lovely Robin, and I would frequently use a phrase that was intended to encourage them on the path to adulthood. It was: “That’s a decision you can make.”

When they came to us for permission, we would often quiz them about what decision they would make if we gave them that freedom. We encouraged them to take not only responsibility, but leadership in decision-making situations, and they responded. We often offered suggestions, and when necessary warned them in no uncertain terms about the potential consequences of poor decisions, but we tried to leave the decision up to them as often as possible.

I think of that sometimes these days as I reflect on God's will for us. Many of us agonize over his will. We seek his will in who to date, where to go to college, what major to choose, who to marry, what job to accept, what church to join, and so on.

We tend to believe God has a Plan A for all those things, and we're headed for trouble if--however innocently--choose Plan B...or worse, Plan K. And, to be fair, in some cases, God DOES have a Plan A. His Word DOES say that his will is for us to give thanks (1 Thessalonians 5:18). It says his will is for us to be sanctified (1 Thessalonians 4:3). But nowhere does the Bible say we are supposed to sweat bullets or blood over his will in other, more specific matters. In fact, quite the contrary.

I think sometimes--often--God responds to our frantic searching for his Plan A with, "That's a decision you can make." I suspect he is often more interested in HOW and WHY we reach a particular end than he is with the end itself. I imagine he delights in us as a loving parent encouraging his children toward greater maturity on the path to teleos (completion, wholeness, maturity).

So is there a decision or a choice you're facing right now? Do you think God has a Plan A and a Plan B you're supposed to discern, or do you think he's saying to you, "That's a decision you can make?"

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