Believe it or not, you have a decision to make.
Regardless of today’s issues or the circumstances that leave you feeling trapped or without hope, you are still free. What is that freedom? It’s the freedom to choose your attitude and actions in the midst of your struggles.
Several years ago, I had to come to grips with this fact. I had blamed God for my circumstances, fallen relationships, unfulfilled dreams, and what I believed were unanswered prayers and unjust circumstances. I had put Him into a box. If I wasn’t relieved of pain or removed from disappointments, then I would think God had somehow fallen down on the job. Now that isn’t a lovely thing to admit, but it is the truth. Coming to grips with being responsible and knowing the unchanging truths about life have taken time for me.
Maybe you are struggling in a similar way today. However, making poor choices will never get you the freedom you want. You can choose to rebel, to fight God and others, to deny your anger, to wallow in victim-like passivity, or to disconnect from reality altogether. You are free to choose to go your own way, to make decisions based on your feelings, or to go with the crowd. You are free to choose what path you will walk. Maybe the only choice you feel you have available is what you are going to believe today about existing in the midst of your struggles. As you consider your choices, here are two thoughts to ponder.
- Remember what God has promised.
Evaluate His promises. Throughout Scripture, God promised to be our comfort in times of sorrow and pain, to be a refuge when we are afraid, to love us unconditionally despite our actions or attitudes, to be patient, to listen, and to show mercy and kindness and forgiveness. But also remember that He never promised life without challenges, days without pain, constant happiness as the world defines it, public success, popularity. And He didn’t promise that we’d always get our own way or that we could earn or lose our salvation. Our Lord and Savior supplies for our needs in the midst of our struggles in life, but He does not promise to remove our struggles. Choosing to believe God’s eternal promises brings us to a place of peace and rest.
- Remember what God has provided.
Begin with what God provided to those in Scripture. He provided forgiveness, words, and courage for Moses. He gave David songs for his soul, rocks for his sling, and peace when he failed. He gave Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Daniel robust endurance. He gave Habakkuk forewarning. And by His grace, He has provided salvation through Jesus. In your life today, He is giving you an opportunity to open the eyes of your heart and see things from His perspective, not yours.
In closing, I leave you with one of my favorite passages from the book of Deuteronomy. The Israelites had been held as captives for almost 500 years when God called Moses to lead the people toward freedom. On the precipice of entering the land God had prepared, Moses said these words to God’s people:
“You shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.” (Deuteronomy 8:2)
Christ has not bound you to misery but has made a way which frees you. You can choose to follow Him thoroughly by simply saying, “Lord, I need you to save my soul, to open the eyes of my heart. Help me allow you to lead me for the rest of my life. I choose you, Lord; I surrender my life to you.”
My father wrote a book called A Life Well Lived that elaborates on some of the points I’ve made above and clarifies the kind of life God desires us each to live.
For further study on building the kind of character into your life that pleases God, I invite you to dig into Chuck Swindoll’s 12-message series called Character Counts, which comes with its own Bible Companion.