Making the Tough Choices

By Pastor Rob Bloss

A study from Columbia University found that on average, Americans make 70 conscious decisions a day. That’s 70 distinct moments of wading through options and committing to a certain choice. So it’s no wonder that at a certain point we reach what’s called decision fatigue—where the mental energy required to weigh the tradeoffs of our decision become too much for us to handle.

I’ll confess that in this challenging season of life and ministry I find myself occasionally pushing against the line of decision fatigue.

I make a lot of decisions in any given day. Some are easy and without significant consequences. While I’m sure there are those who believe I chose poorly when my belt didn’t match the color of my shoes, I don’t lose sleep over my shortcomings as a fashion icon. But there are other decisions that are significantly harder and weightier.

The week-to-week decision to keep our doors open or to close them to in-person gathering would definitely fall into this category. There is so much to consider, so much information and so many opinions to sort through. There is no “clearly right” or “clearly wrong” answer. I say that knowing that some of you will clearly disagree with that assessment!

Proverbs 19:20-21 advises us to “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”

I do not believe this proverb speaks primarily to seeking the will of God; rather, it is an admonition to know and obey the will of God. It is not telling us to seek to discover the hidden purposes of God; rather, it is telling us to acknowledge and trust God in His purposes.

Christians are constantly asking the Lord to "show them His will," especially with respect to what are regarded as the "big decisions." However, the Bible does not indicate that God has scripted our life, nor does it instruct us to engage in any weird mystical mechanisms in order to discover His will for what He wants us to do.

God is sovereign. He makes happen what He wants to make happen. God has communicated his moral will in scripture. He has revealed to us the way He wants us to live and work. In those areas of life where God has not given clear command, He gives us freedom and responsibility to choose. He does not have a secret or hidden or special will that we need to somehow "discover." In fact, it is God's will that we apply wise thinking and decision-making skills in the “non-command” areas of life.

Where God has spoken, we are to obey. Where God has not spoken, we are to exercise wisdom. I don't know a better example of this than Ephesians 5.15-17: "Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is."

Freedom and responsibility within the boundary of God's revealed will is what scripture teaches. It can be illustrated with a circle. Inside the circle is obedience to God's revealed will. Outside the circle are things contrary to God's revealed will. As a follower of Jesus, you are free to choose anything inside the circle. Any choice outside the boundary of the circle is contrary to God’s will.

It may be hard to accept that there is no “special plan" or "special will" for us inside the circle. The truth is that God’s plan is for us to learn how to think, choose, and take responsibility for our choices. He is more concerned about our attitude, motives, effort, and ultimately, our character. His plan is that we learn how to apply scripture to our thinking and decision-making, and that we obey his Word and seek his wisdom in the way we live our lives, do our job, and make decisions. His plan is for us is to become more and more like Jesus.

Sometimes you just have to make a decision and trust God, surrendering yourself and the decision to Him.

For now, we’re going to keep our doors open. We are making a decision, after much prayer, research, and discussion, to allow you the freedom to make a decision. We ask that you apply wisdom as you weigh your own risk and the consequences of your choices for yourself and others. We ask that you abide by ALL of our guidelines as we make every effort to keep everyone safe.

Masks are required, distancing is expected, and you should stay home if you are sick or have been exposed to others who have tested positive for COVID.

Know that regardless of your choice, you are loved and valued. We want you to feel connected to Christ and to your church family whether you join us online or in person.

Please pray for His light to shine in the darkness, for His joy to fill our hearts and homes, for His power to give us the strength we need for every hard situation we face, for His wisdom as we wrestle with tough decisions, and for His protection to be poured out over our church and community.