Sometimes life is complicated, very complicated. And we don’t know which road to take.
The British punk rock band, The Clash, put their finger on our human condition when it underscored the tyranny of choices we face with this simple song line repeated over and over,
“Should I stay, or should I go now?”
Decisions, options, possibilities, choices. It seems as if every day there is another fork in the road. Is it time to sell and retire, or should I go all in one more time? Will it be bonds or stocks? Should we stay close to friends, or relocate near the kids? Is now the time to start a family, or later? Should we buy a new home, or renovate the old one? Yes, take the promotion. No, launch out on my own.
The litany of choices seems relentless. And how do we know if we’re getting it right?
And we want to get it right, don’t we?
And so, we run the budget numbers again. We try to figure out the contingencies. We do scenario planning. We divide the page into two, and we enumerate the pros and cons.
And then we do it over again.
What’s going on?
Truth be told…uncertainty scares us. We want to manage the future. Control our destiny. Lockdown the outcomes.
Deep down, there’s a nagging suspicion that we will not choose well and may end up in the wrong place.
In his insightful book, Searching for Home – Spirituality for Restless Souls, Craig Barnes reminds us that it is not about our choices, but God’s. I love his quote:
“Every road leads to a fork, and every fork in the road eventually leads to another. But all of the roads belong to God. The real challenge is not choosing the correct fork, but learning to walk with the Savior who can use any road to bring us home.”
In 2020 each of us will encounter numerous forks in the road. We are confronted with more choices than any previous generation could dream about. We can choose our relationships, our careers, where we will live, how many kids we will have. And the more choices, the more stress.
And we will have to decide. And then decide again. And sometimes we get intimated by our freedom to choose. We get terrified of making a mistake. On our nomadic journey of life…one wrong choice and we may be doomed. Or so we think.
But then we hear those amazing words of Jesus,
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” (John 14:1)
Whatever road we are on, whatever fork appears up ahead, Jesus says, “Trust me, because I can appear to walk alongside you on any road…because all roads belong to me.”
When Jesus rose from the dead, he made it a point to appear on all roads…on the road to Emmaus where his downcast disciples walked; on the road to Damascus where his servant-to-be, Paul, was walking; on the road from Jerusalem to Gaza where his angel encountered Philip.
Ultimately, it’s not about the road we are on, or the fork we might take. It’s about the Spirit of Christ who has promised to love us and lead us on our journey. Didn’t Jesus say, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)
If we know that we are loved by God, and forgiven by him, and if we know he is with us, we also know that we will be okay regardless of what happens. Our lives will end up in a good place, not because we always calculated right and made the best choice, but because God has chosen to love us. And his love awaits us at every fork in the road!
Craig Barnes said it best,
“If you believe that God owns all the forking roads, and that if out of his gracious love God has already chosen to lead you home to a future filled with hope, then you are free to make the best choices you can without anxiety that your soul is on the line every time you choose.”
That great master of one-liners, Yogi Berra, once said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” And with Christ at our side, we can do just that!
When we have settled the issue of God’s trustworthiness, and when we have planted ourselves firmly in the soil of his love, we can look left, and look right, and then take the fork which calls our heart…knowing that with Christ, all will be well.
Blessings for a good journey…