Do you have difficulty in making decisions? Every day decisions have to be made, many of which could have consequences affecting the course of one’s life for years to come. They need, therefore, to be taken seriously and only after much prayer and thought.
The Old Testament characters seemed to make their decisions in the certain knowledge that God was directing them. For example Noah had no qualms about building a boat (Genesis 6: 22). Abram set out on a dangerous journey (Genesis 12: 4) and later was prepared to kill his son Isaac believing that God required him for a sacrifice (Genesis 22: 1-13). Moses undertook the difficult task of leading a large group of people through the wilderness, a journey fraught with dangers and difficulties. How did these people make their decisions so boldly – because they listened to God speaking to them and obeyed His commands.
Sometimes we might choose to exercise our freedom of choice to prove that we do not need to obey God’s commands but often little success is found in this way. Then, like the prodigal son in the parable (St Luke 15: 11-32) we are glad to be able to return to our Father’s arms. In St John 21: 1-6 we find Peter growing tired of waiting around. Impulsively he decides to go fishing without first praying carefully. Not surprisingly, after a whole night’s fishing, nothing is caught. Then a voice on the bank is heard saying, “Haven’s you caught anything?”. Immediately after this Jesus takes control of the situation and, when His orders are obeyed without questioning, success follows instantly. He then commands Peter to look after His church, warning him (v 18) that in future he will have to become less impulsive and more submissive to the will of others. Finally He gives the command ‘Follow me’ so once again Peter becomes obedient to his Master’s call.
Often we feel that we are in control of our actions and are capable of making our own decisions but later, upon reflection, we realise that our lives are constantly being controlled by a higher power. Hymn 300 aptly expresses this idea in the words:
“Be my law and I shall be firmly bound, for ever free”.
We can only experience ‘perfect freedom’ in our lives when we acknowledge that God is in control, guiding and directing us in everything we do or say. Only when we submit our will to His perfect will can we find that true peace of mind which many seek but seldom find.