Our youngest son was recently interested in the game “Would You Rather?” In it, a person asks another person questions like: “Would you rather have one thumbnail pulled off or all your eyelashes plucked out?” It’s meant to be a difficult task, choosing between two mostly equal options. But when Ezra posed the questions, he didn’t always grasp the required balance necessary to make the game fun. For instance, a few months ago, he went running down the driveway, shouting to a friend who was driving away to roll down his window. Then he asked, “Hey, Tyler! Would you rather fight a dog or eat a hot dog?” To most anyone, the answer was obvious.
If only all our choices in life were as easy as eating a hot dog instead of participating in a dog fight. Unfortunately, many of the selections we face are more like the actual “Would You Rather?” game. In the real world, there are nuances to consider and unknown variables and long-term consequences. Further investigations may be needed with possible pros vs. cons lists. “Would You Rather?” turns into What If I Don’t?and What Will It Cost? and Are There Better Choices?
I’m no expert on this and I’m sure to forget this plan way more than I will remember it, but I am going to try to use three key verses when I’m making a decision, big or small. (Note: I recently heard someone say that he even prays before he chooses which restaurant he should go to for lunch just in case God has a plan for him to go to a particular place. No choice is too small!)
Listen carefully! Isaiah 30:21 tells us, “Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, ‘This is the way you should go, whether to the right or to the left.’” This listening may require a long, sometimes uncomfortable pause. As a people-pleaser, I’m working on listening better for God’s discretion to tell me when to say yes and when to say no.
Look different! Romans 12:2 says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” I’m going to give myself permission to look different than the world, removing that ridiculous and unattainable burden of worldly achievement and flawlessness which can weigh me down.
Live faithfully! In Joshua 24:15, we read some of General Joshua’s final words to the Israelite people. “But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua was taking the Israelites to an existential crossroads. He reminded them of all that the Lord had done for them, then he told them to make a choice to be faithful to the True God.
We will not always be given the greatest choices, forcing us to use phrases like “lesser evil,” “best of a bad bunch,” and “least bad option.” But, although we don’t live in a perfect world, we can serve a Perfect Lord.