Some people find it relatively easy to make decisions, to weigh up pros and cons and to come to a decision about what to do. I personally find it almost impossible to make decisions. I spend so much time considering every point of view and possible outcome that I am left in a state often referred to as ‘analysis paralysis‘. Coupled with a fear of failure and a desperate desire to please everyone with every decision I make, I find it difficult to make decisions. God tends to have to push me through open doors before I even recognise they are there!
Christians believe that God is our shepherd, leading us beside quiet waters (Ps 23:2), that He is the good shepherd who leads His sheep into fulness of life (John 10:1-10) and that ‘whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”‘ (Is 30:21) Nonetheless, this does not absolve us from making decisions, for God has given us free will, and rational thought can play an important part in making decisions.
Proverbs 16 has interesting advice for us about making decisions. It tells us to commit to the Lord whatever we do, secure in the knowledge that He will establish our plans. (Prov 16:3) It reminds us to consider motives and weigh options. (Prov 16:1-2) It urges us to give heed to instruction and to trust God in everything. (Prov 16:20) It reminds us that something can look good but lead to death. (Prov 16:25) Ultimately, it also refers to the ‘lot’, saying, ‘The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.‘ (Prov 16:33) We have to have a confidence in God’s ability to guide us and to both open and close doors. (Rev 3:7)
A fear of making mistakes can be a crippling thing. A fear of failure can inhibit us from doing anything good. We need to have confidence in God’s ability to lead and guides us, and also in His ability to redeem our mistakes and bring good from every situation. Paul and his companions faced many setbacks as they went to preach the gospel (Acts 16:6-10), but ultimately, they were led to Macedonia where several churches were established. Circumstances and supernatural messages were all ways God directed them. He leads us in many ways, and whilst we may wish for the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire to lead us as it did the Israelites in the wilderness (it’s always good to have visible signs, we feel!), we are called to live by faith and not by sight. (2 Cor 5:7) Please pray for us as we have important decisions to make about re-opening the building for services, how to keep people as safe as possible and how to lead services in these strange times when restrictions and prohibitions seem to abound.