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Lesser Decisions We Make: Two people recommended books that I decided to read based on their recommendations. I could not finish them because they were so bad—in my view. Perhaps you’ve had similar outcomes with lesser decisions. But what about when folks recommend doctors, mechanics, schools, and spouses that prove to be disappointing?
The Truth: You cannot vet anything with all certainty. Think about what it would mean to understand a decision fully; you would have to be omniscient. The best you can do is head in the right general direction, along with sound advice and due diligence.
As you move in that general direction, you adjust; we learn as we go. E.g., my first pastor recommended that I go to a fundamentalist Bible college. I did. I don’t regret it. Would I recommend it today? No! I was moving in the general direction of Christian education, had sound advice, and did due diligence. However, my decision-making about theology and practice has become more refined as I continued to pursue God.
God told Elijah to head down to the creek, and after he arrived, it dried up (1 Kings 17:5-7). Later, he asked him to see a widow (1 Kings 17:7-16). Upon arrival, he met a woman and child ready to die. The Lord told Noah to build a boat (Genesis 6:19) and sent His Son to die on a cross (John 3:16). The stories of the Sovereign Lord directing what appears to be futile missions are legend.
There is an interplay between decision-making and sovereign outcomes. The temptation for us, however, is to know how things will end before we set out for our desired outcome. Knowing the end before you begin is not faith in God; it is faith in the predetermined and anticipated outcome prior to launch. Contrariwise, Peter stepped on the water without knowing how it would end for him. He moved in the right direction, assuming it would end well (Matthew 14:22-33). It did. Eventually.
When we pre-determine how things should go, we are not fully thinking through all of God’s intentions (Genesis 50:20). If it’s an undesirable book, you can stop reading it and move on to the next thing. If it’s a lousy spouse, the complication factor is exponential.
Counseling Tip: When the heat turns up and your mind is unclear, you must ride on the shoulders of others while continuing to take any rogue thoughts captive that shames the name of God.
No matter what is happening to you, God is working His plan. Though it might take longer to get to a better place, you must not lose hope. My ordeal did not begin to turn for nearly ten years. It was not my timeline but the Lord’s. I see now that He was right and I was wrong.
Rick launched the Life Over Coffee global training network in 2008 to bring hope and help for you and others by creating resources that spark conversations for transformation. His primary responsibilities are resource creation and leadership development, which he does through speaking, writing, podcasting, and educating.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology and, in 1991, a BS in Education. In 1993, he received his ordination into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).