Thursday, April 03, 2014

Biweekly Bits #5: No Choices

After writing 26 bits, I realized that there is so much I could elaborate on with each of my bits. So I decided to turn them into a biweekly (i.e. fortnightly) series, for the next year.

In some instances God will give you no choice about something because He knows that even if you had but one other option, you'd pick the wrong one. I wish I could say that this happened to me only once...

Have you ever had such an experience? Maybe applying for a job, auditioning for a role or spot in a company, or applying to college to to graduate school. You were well-qualified, everything seemed to be working in your favour throughout the process, but only ONE opportunity opens up of all the ones that you were trying to earn.

Maybe you were thankful that even this one opportunity came about. Or maybe you were like me, and you were disappointed, because it was perhaps the last thing that you would have chosen for yourself. The school that you threw in as a safety, the job you applied to as a backup, the role you auditioned for just-in-case was the only one that you got. But God, infinite in wisdom, and sovereign over all made an executive decision: this was what He wanted for you, this is what He chose for you.

Why would God do this to us? Doesn't God want us to have our heart's desires? Why couldn't the one opportunity be the one that was my top choice? I've asked these questions, and each time I ask the answer becomes more and more clear: more than desiring to grant us the desires of our hearts, God's heart is always focused on our good. 

If we are honest with ourselves, we won't always choose what is for our good. Here's why:
  1. We don't know what is for our good and what isn't. We can't see how the future will play out, and we don't know how today's disappointment prepares us for tomorrow's joy. It is far better for the one who knows the entire story to decide what opportunities will eventually end up being for our good.
  2. We don't want to choose what will ultimately be for our good, because it is not easy. Like it or not, our natural instinct seems to do what is easiest for us, what is most convenient. Some experiences in life, while being quite beneficial, are extremely inconvenient. These experiences stretch us, they enlarge our territory and broaden our horizons. They teach us difficult lessons. They hurt. But they also bring growth, perspective, and opportunity. They are what we need, but not what we want.
  3. Sometimes, what is for our good is lonely. Let's say that you're willing to do what is not easy...if you didn't have to do it without your friends or family. But it is good for us to be near to God (Psalm 73:28), and it is especially for us to be near to God when there is no one else. Such wilderness experiences, when you are alone, but for the Lord, foster the kind of intimacy that God desires to have with us. I mentioned the wilderness in 26 bits, and the post on it is coming in Bit #18 in a few months, but for now I will say this: there are times, seasons in life through which we must walk alone, to truly understand how God is faithful to provide for our every need, to begin to understand the depths of God's love and grace, to gain insight into who God is and what is God's will.
In those times in life when we have no other choice, when God gives us one option, one opportunity, He is saying to us, "This is what I want for you, will you trust me to do this for your good?" In such times God knows that we would have never chosen this for ourselves if we had any other choice, so in order to make sure that we chose this path, He chose it for us. It may not be the most attractive option, but it is the one through while He will be glorified.

So I ask you again: has this ever happened to you? Out of all the opportunities that you thought there were, only one became a real option? Remember this, if it ever comes down between giving you what you want, and giving you what we need, our God is faithful to fulfill our needs (Phil 4:19).

Be blessed and shine, even in your only option!

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A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—
and how good is a timely word! -Prov 15:23