I have a few decisions in front of me these days, some bigger than others. The older I get, the more nuanced and complex are the things I have in front of me. The details of what I am currently working on are not the issue here. More important is how consistently thick-headed I am faced with dilemmas!
I say this because my default mode, when facing any choices, is to take a problem-solving "if I think about this long enough I can figure it out" course of action. I will ponder and obsess and doodle over an idea or problem, consult with several people I trust, then come to my conclusion...
THEN, I bring my solution and "pray" about it. In reality, I'm asking God to simply rubber-stamp my own choice, as if he is my personal UPS delivery man. Sheesh.
Let's be honest -- we tend to treat God like a cosmic vending machine rather than our Sovereign Lord. At least I do.
Yesterday I spent a chunk of time going into my aforementioned default mode over something, yet was unable to "solve" it. As I sat down this morning to read some scripture, warm latte in hand, this was the passage I was immediately confronted with:
3 But when the people of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, 4 they resorted to deception to save themselves. They sent ambassadors to Joshua, loading their donkeys with weathered saddlebags and old, patched wineskins. 5 They put on worn-out, patched sandals and ragged clothes. And the bread they took with them was dry and moldy. 6 When they arrived at the camp of Israel at Gilgal, they told Joshua and the men of Israel, “We have come from a distant land to ask you to make a peace treaty with us.”
7 The Israelites replied to these Hivites, “How do we know you don’t live nearby? For if you do, we cannot make a treaty with you.”
[the Hivites spin a tall tale about their desperation and need...]
14 So the Israelites examined their food, but they did not consult the Lord.
I immediately stopped reading. I had to do some business with God. My soul was deeply convicted and I recognized that I had not prayed one second about this decision that I had been laboring over for 2 days.
I confessed my sin and stupidity. Soon the entire experience was emphatically driven home by this hymn:
Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart,
naught be all else to me, save that thou art;
Thou my best thought by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.
Be thou my wisdom, thou my true word,
I ever with thee and thou with me Lord;
Thou my great Father, I thy true son (or daughter!);
Thou in me dwelling, and I with thee one.
Be thou my breastplate, sword for the fight;
Be thou my dignity, thou my delight;
Thou my soul's shelter, thou my high tower:
Raise thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.
Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise:
Thou mine inheritance now and always;
Thou and thou only first in my heart;
High King of Heaven, my treasure thou art.
High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven's joys, O Bright Heaven's sun!;
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my vision, O Ruler of all.
I am grateful for his vision, his provision, his unending grace. Whatever decisions you face this day, do not forget to pray about them first. After tha, I'm not sure there is much else left for us to do, other than to pray for the strength to live out what he asks.