I am back.
It was a long weekend, and I discovered many new things. I had not previously been to Michigan, and I was pleasantly surprised. The Ann Arbor area was green…densely, overwhelmingly green. I’ve never seen trees with such vitality. The drive from St. Louis to Michigan was beautiful. The weather, while warm, was pleasant and refreshing. The air seemed clear and clean. It was a busy, fast-paced time, and I met many, many new people, all of whom I liked. I have decided that I am greatly looking forward to visiting my sister-in-law and her new husband. Blessings, especially health, wealth, and family, to them both.
I have had a great deal pressing on my mind lately. I am in one of those times in my life when I am weighing and contemplating many heavy options. A decision must be made. A decision must be adhered to. When I find myself in such a phase in my life, I am typically preoccupied with a couple of thoughts. The first is, “What if I make this decision, and it turns out to be a HUGE mistake? What will happen to my family? What will happen to me?” I have been through this before when I decided to go to grad school immediately after finishing my bachelor’s degree, and the decision affected my then newlywed wife. Now, whatever decision I make not only impacts my wife, but my two young children as well.
The second question I ask myself is, “Who will be hurt if I make this decision? What relationships will be damaged? Will they ever be repairable? Is this worth it?” I fear that when I have to make a big decision, there are people who will view it as a choice over or against them. My friends and my family are my highest values. The thought that I might ever hurt any of them when I might have prevented it often keeps me awake at night. The impact on close friends and family is one of the first and foremost things I take into consideration when weighing a major life decision.
I have been wrestling with one decision in particular throughout the course of the past few months. It has drained me. I have traveled the spectrum of emotions. from broken to arrogant, from defeated to angry. At the apex of it all, I attended my lovely sister-in-law’s wedding. I went there to watch my sister-in-law marry a fantastic man. I went there to take care of my wife, who was the maid of honor, and my children, one of whom was also in the wedding. I simply wanted to be there and do my best to serve my current and soon-to-be family. Then, at the wedding, someone was asked to share a passage from the book of Jeremiah. It is a passage I have heard many times, but on this particular occasion I was taken aback by nuances I don’t recall noticing previously:
10 “For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare  and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
Here are, in short, a few things that awakened me during this particular reading:
It says that when seventy years have passed, the Lord will fulfill his promise. Seventy years is a long time. Probably longer than I will live. But, God will honor his promises. So, if I make the decision I am considering, I may not quickly know the purpose or see the reason why I was stirred to do so, but that does not mean that God was unfaithful. Just because the tomato does not ripen on the vine as I sit and watch does not mean that natural law has ceased to apply. Sometimes…many times…our Father’s plans are bigger even than my own lifespan.
He plans to give us a future and a hope. This does not imply that we will immediately understand all that happens to us. It does not mean that we will always see the results of the actions we take here on Earth. Our Father did say not to worry about what we would eat or what we would wear, indicating that our immediate, material needs would be met. But here He promises us something more than meeting our temporary physical needs. I so often get caught up worrying about how to pay the bills, how to provide, how to lead my family away from destruction. I almost always forget that there was much, much more meant to be accomplished in this life. We are given a promise of a future. We are given promise of a hope, which suggests that there is more to come.
Finally, I love what it says in verse 14: “I will be found by you, declares the Lord[…]”
I will be found by you.
I will be found by you.
(I did not shoot this video on my way to Michigan. I found it on YouTube.com)
So, in the end, there is nothing I can do to escape God’s love. I must make a decision. But, inevitably, I must also find God.
“What if I screw up?”
…I will be found by you…
“What if it’s the wrong decision?”
…I will be found by you…
“What if someone is hurt by my decision? What if I hurt my family? What if I run out of money? What if I lose my job? What if I lose my house? What if all I have worked for falls into utter irrelevance?
…I will be found by you.
There is nothing that can be done about it.