I used to believe that “each of us has to find our own road in life.” For me, that meant that when I was 17 years old, in the summer between my junior and senior years in high school, I decided to follow Jesus. Of course, I had no idea how that decision would shape the choices and decisions I have made since then. But, even in how I described that portentous decision, “decided to follow Jesus,” I realize that God’s providential learning was WAAAAY more important than my “decided.”
Let me try to explain what I mean.
While it’s true that our decisions profoundly impact the direction of our lives, I no longer believe they determine the road we travel. Rather, I think God places each of us upon a path for our lives that is unique to each one of us. It’s shared by others–sometimes for a short time, and other times for all of our years, even while they too travel the path God has given to them.
Why is this important, this shift, from “finding my path” to “walking the path God has given to me”?
Simply this: our lives belong to God, and the cumulative outcome eventually reveals one of two results: either, my life has become marked by decisions which make my heart more tender, my decisions more wise, and my life less self centered, or not.
Yes, it’s binary in an “it’s all relative” kind of world we’re living in, but some things just are.
Why it’s important? Because it reveals to us whose story we’re living in. If it’s my story, then it’s going to come down to the choices I make about my life. If it’s God’s story, then it comes down to what Jesus does in my life with the choices that I’ve made. Because I believe–to my bones–that God will accomplish all of His purposes in my life and on the earth, this gives my soul great peace, even when I don’t make the best choices.
And I know how this story turns out…all of us giving the glory to Jesus due to Him:
“And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying…To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!'”
What makes me uncomfortable about what I’ve written here? That God’s providential will and leadership “wins the day” as our decisions and choices lead to His glory — through his favor AND judgment. Yes, my choices matter. No, they don’t change the favor and glory of Jesus, the Son who gave up everything to rescue us. To Him be the glory. No matter what. Through all decisions. In every circumstance. Always and every time. Your fame, your glory, Jesus. Always.