God Gives Choices

[Jesus said,]“Everyone therefore who hears these words of mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man, who built his house on a rock. The rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it didn’t fall, for it was founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of mine, and doesn’t do them will be like a foolish man, who built his house on the sand. The rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.” Matthew 7:24-27 (WEB)

In his book, Cast of Characters, Max Lucado related a story about Abraham Lincoln that I did not know.  Edwin Thomas, an actor, saved the life of President Lincoln’s son, Robert Todd Lincoln, when he fell between a station platform and a moving train.  Edwin’s actor brother, John, assassinated Robert’s father, two years before.  Two brothers.  Same father, mother, profession — Two choices. How does that happen?  I don’t know but it isn’t unusual.

Adam had two sons, Cain and Abel.  Abel chose to give God the best of what he had.  Cain chose to give in to envy and kill.   God allowed them to choose.

Abraham and Lot were both nomads in Canaan.  Abraham chose to take whatever Lot didn’t want.  Lot chose Sodom.  God allowed them to choose.

David and Saul were both kings of Israel.  David chose God.  Saul chose power.  God allowed them to choose.

Peter and Judas both denied the Messiah.  Peter repented and asked for mercy.  Judas was also sorry but chose death.  God allowed them to choose.

Jesus even on the cross had two thieves who were making choices.  Both were convicted by the Roman justice system. Both were given the same punishment.  Both found themselves on the same hill, next to the same man.  One died angry and insulting.  The other in his weakness, recognized his need for mercy, and simply said, “Remember me when you enter your kingdom.”  God allowed them to choose.

There are more stories that could be added to the list.  Throughout history, both in Scripture and in the world, God will allow us to make our own choices.  I don’t always understand.  Doesn’t the shepherd leave the 99 and search for the one?  Yes.  The father of prodigal son did…nothing.   The sheep innocently wandered away.  The prodigal intentionally left.  The father gave him a choice.  Jesus gave the criminals the same choice.

The repented thief had made some poor choices.  Maybe he chose to hang with the wrong crowd and decided the wrong things to do.  Is he going to spend eternity reaping the fruit of all the bad choices?  No, he is going to enjoy the fruit of the one good choice.

God may send a storm to shake us up.  He may send His love to encourage us to come to His arms.  And sometimes God says nothing.  God is silent and honors our right to choose.  I do not begin to understand an infinite God. All I know is that God desires that all should come to know Him and so live with Him forever. (1 Timothy 2)

Let us build on the solid foundation of our good choice: God!  Let us rejoice that we can build on Rock, not sand! I will have choices to make today.  Will I choose compassion or revenge?  Will I choose kindness or anger?  Will I choose self-control or destruction?

Oh, Holy Spirit, help me in my weakness to choose well.  Show me Your way, every day.  In Jesus’ name I pray.

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