When Decisions Fire Back

What causes you to waver in your faith? I don’t mean in the major ways, like questioning the existence of God, but in the little ways: the hesitation to serve because you don’t feel like it, questioning of someone’s intentions or motives and the countless other little things that bubble-up a desire for self-protection instead of an open heart and mind. For me it’s trials.  When I face the consequences of a hasty choice I tend to want to protect myself in other areas of my life. I start to try to guard myself instead of give of myself.

How is this a sign of wavering faith? Faith is focused on a greater hope and on something eternal. I waver in my faith when I think I’ve done something good and it turns out terrible.  I want comfort here and now. I allow my faith to waver when I allow my feelings to overcome my faith. I want the job to be easier and my friends to agree with me on every point (even the crazy ones).  I want my good deeds to work out for the benefit of others and to God’s glory, not blow up in my face (cue the pity party).

James 1:1-8 2Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds,3because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

When I don’t let perseverance finish it’s work I make poor decisions and let my emotions get the best of me. I want to cut the trial short because I find it difficult to trust in God in that moment. Again, these are not major life changing decisions, they are my every-day small decisions such as will I pray or turn on a T.V. show as an escape? Will I wake up early and wrestle through my thoughts and fears with God or wake up later and bury myself in work at the office? Will I make a decision in haste that seems like a good idea or take the time to pray about it and get some more input? Sometimes, the little wrong decisions are like small cuts, if you make enough of them they can kill you, in the spiritual sense.  They are also costly in the long run.

A few weeks ago I made a decision in haste. I thought it was the right thing to do, but did not take the time to think it through. This has had unpleasant consequences, but I have learned a lot from the situation. I have had to face the temptation of losing heart and wanting to withdraw. I have had to fight the temptation of thinking, “Never again will I…”

Our decisions have consequences and when those consequences come we are called to face them.  This will allow them to teach us the lessons they are meant to, so that we can make better decisions in the future.  I don’t know what your hasty decisions have been. Maybe, like me, you tried to do what you thought was right and it didn’t work out as you planned and you are frustrated or hurt. Whatever it may be, it will be ok. We serve a God of second, third and umpteenth chances. He uses even our momentary laps of judgments and wrongly placed best intentions to refine us and make us better if we let him. He strengthens us even when we waver and make impulsive decisions or use poor judgment. He strengthens us when we make right decisions that don’t go the way we planned.

We bounce back when we fix our eyes on what’s most important and do the right thing even if we may not feel like it.  We trust that God will protect us and provide for us. Meet a need, cut your losses, apologize, accept circumstances are not what you had hoped, or do whatever you know he is calling you to do (even if you don’t particularly feel like it). When we step out on faith, on the unseen, we know that he either provides solid ground for us to stand on or he teaches us to fly.

2Cor 4:16-18 16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

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