The path we take is often marred by bad decisions. It is often lifted by decisions that have a positive impact. But ofttimes it is the decisions that are made that cannot be easily categorized into a positive or negative list that are most troubling and most prone to questioning.
These decisions usually have positive and negative outcomes on both sides of the decision. With the anniversary of the Enola Gay’s deadly payload, I have recently pondered the distressing choice that Harry S Truman must have faced. Obviously, the circumstances of that are well known and need no further hashing by someone so uneducated as myself. The anguish of such a decision must be gut-wrenching. How can man make a decision to take so many lives? How can make this decision when it will save so many?
In daily life, these decisions are faced. Perhaps not on the magnitude of hundreds and thousands of lives, but affecting personal, social, financial, and emotional lives. However, these tough decisions are ones that must be lived with. Further still, they are decisions that one must live and die with.
An interesting dynamic is that of human feeling. Where as an animal could make a choice based purely on say, food or water, a human takes so many other factors into consideration. It is the separation of feelings and other influences that often make these decision so difficult.
Being pragmatic is not always wise. It just usually is. But this desire to be pragmatic often overshadows human decency and kindness. It leads to that indescribable concept of grace.
A recent sermon I heard spoke of grace. It’s unfairness is so frustrating, but it’s mercy is so refreshing and such a relief to those who need and appreciate it the most.
Reflecting on those great people who faced uncomfortable decisions brings comfort to one who must face choices of a smaller nature in daily life. Jesus’s decision to return to Jerusalem. Stephen’s decision to tell the history of Jewish faith to the High Priest. Abigail’s decision to go to David. Samson’s decision to tell of his secret. America’s Founding Fathers’ decision to break away from England. The South’s decision to secede. Lincoln’s decision to burn a swath across the South. Roosevelt’s decision to be involved in world war. George W. Bush’s decision to wage war. Perhaps the magnitudes of these do not match that of choosing a career, but perhaps there is a lesson to be learned.
The Book of James tells us that if we lack wisdom, we should seek God. I think if we look at decisions throughout history, it can be assessed whether the decision maker sought after God.
In daily decisions, it may be difficult to bring ourselves to seek and to find that wisdom. Peace must come to those who seek and find.