When there are no signposts or markers, choosing which path to take can be a challenge.
We took a walk in our temporary home away from home, and came across a divided path, with the option of going one of two ways.
We chose the path to the right.
Both paths probably led to beautiful, scenic spaces, but on a whim, we made a choice.
Not every choice can be whimsical.
Growing up I was constantly making the decision which way to go. What to consider and who to listen to. My parents had strict rules of conduct and high expectations of our behavior. Every generation is challenged by those before them to learn from what they did, the mistakes they made, and consider the wisdom of experience.
Often that wisdom and advice are left unheeded, seen as ineffectual and no longer valid.
Too often I believed the rules laid before me were limiting, stifling. I watched other young people disregard what they’d learned and take the chance to choose their own way.
What appeared adventuresome and exciting frequently turned into regret. I had friends who drank and drove and died in the process. Girls I knew who’d become pregnant were faced with having a baby and choosing to give it up for adoption or having an abortion.
The older I’ve gotten, the more overarching these decisions seem to impact my life and others. I’m not concerned with just what happens to me, but my family and friends, those whom I love and cherish.
I’ve been fortunate. I was taught responsibility, respect, and honesty when I was young. I’m not saying I was consistent in following those values, but they gave me a foundation for decisions. Especially as I’ve gotten older. Truth will not be ignored; people always matter.
For instance, the Israelites were held in captivity for over four hundred years by the Egyptians. What began as peaceful coexistence ended in harsh slavery and brutal treatment as the Egyptians used them to do whatever was needed. Moses stood in defiance against Pharaoh, demanding the freedom of his people. And God used him to bring ten devastating plagues on the people of Egypt. The Israelites were protected from harm, and after the tenth plague, which brought death to all of Egypt’s firstborn, Moses led his people to freedom.
You’d think this privilege they were given, protection from the plagues and hope for a future, would have been foundational in helping them make decisions. But when Moses went up on Mount Sinai for forty days and nights, the people became restless. And chose to make a gold calf that would be their god and protector. Manmade and glittery, it could do nothing to help them.
Even when we’ve been given good information and wonderful reasons to make choices that are helpful to us and others, we’re drawn to the deceit of the glitter and glitz. What the world offers is a counterfeit to what God gives freely–eternal life and hope. The world provides temporary satisfaction that will never truly satisfy.
Some decisions will be obvious. Others will force us to think beyond immediate gratification to ultimate reality.
We live at the crossroads.
Which way will you choose?