About a week ago I started thinking and pondering about something. For the purposes of this blog entry the topic is not germane. It is a decision that I am considering, and I am not sure if it is a wise decision or not. I would imagine by now you are very curious. However I am not quite ready to share the topic, and since it would not be something that I would act on until the other end of the year, I do not feel I need to share it. What my point and purpose in writing about it right now is to think and consider how we pray about making decisions.
It seems to me there is a difference in praying about an issue that needs resolution or a situation that needs to be addressed in the short term or even in the long term. A need, a condition, a problem – something that needs to be solved and seems to be beyond our ability or understanding. We pray for someone who is ill or facing a problem. We say we will pray for them or encourage them to pray for their need etc. What we are advising is talking to God about the situation and listening to/for the Spirit to answer. That seems to me clear enough; problem leads to pray that leads to God’s guidance and/or intervention. But that is not what I mean at this time.
I guess the word and concept I am pondering on is “discernment” – what is best to do. And not in a crisis or critical situation or anything else. It is choosing between two or more paths, when any of the paths would make a worthy and wise choice. Do you start to see my dilemma? Often when faced with such a choice the person who strives to live a good Christian life would pray about it. And then according to the proper timeline make a decision. But how would one know that the choice made was indeed the one that God would advice – aside of course from some sort of Divine banner in the sky or written across one’s computer or bathroom mirror. How can the Christian know when human contemplation and discernment has given way to being informed and guided by the Lord God?
As I think about this, that is another critical component of my dilemma. How do I know that the choice I make is the one that God would have me chose? Again, without divulging the topic, let me see this is not an ethical choice – chose the most Christian thing to do. Neither is it an irreparable choice, one that will have tragic consequences if I chose wrongly. You might think from all this that I should not be consider, if it is not ethics nor doing harm to anyone. But I do want to chose wisely and well. I do not want to regret this choice. And while it may not harm others, if I do not chose wisely in this for myself, I may regret the choice terribly. So I want to chose well. While it will not harm anyone if I chose poorly, my choice may have outcomes for others; so I need to be careful in my discernment.
It would be easy, gentle reader, to simply pray for wisdom and discernment and then once having completed that prayer, make a choice. And simply hope that I have chosen the correct thing. But my spirit does not seem to be willing to make it that easy. So I ponder this, even to the point of pondering how to form my prayer to the Lord.
It is possible I am making this too difficult. Maybe, just maybe, if I postpone making any decision the correct decision will present itself. Having come to the Lord saying, there is a decision I need to make but I have no idea how to decide or what to decide will be enough to start something in motion. Maybe, just maybe, having written about it is the first step in this process of discernment. If so, thank you gentle reader for listening.
May the Lord God who desires all good things for us be will you in all of your decisions and discerning. Shalom!