23rd April - Thought For The Day - Choices
Words by Bev Jones
I was sent the link to a Jeff Lucas podcast the other day in which he was telling the story of his father as a young man in a prisoner of war camp in Poland. If you are able to listen to the story yourself, it’s well worth the time, but the gist of the story centres around a choice that his father had to make with virtually no time to think about the consequences.
He relates how, when hundreds of prisoners were being made to trudge twenty miles a day in the snow, with Nazi soldiers at the front and rear of the column he realised that as they turned a corner, he was invisible to the guards for a few seconds. In that moment, he and a friend took their chance and escaped into the nearby woods and waited until the men had passed.
Somehow over the next few months, they found their way home and the rest, as we say, is history. Most of us will never have to make a split-second choice that could cost our life, but we do have choices to make every day - apparently around 35,000 of them! The majority of them are pretty mundane, but some of them have the potential to lead us in a different direction to the one that we’re currently travelling in, as Jeff Lucas explained with his father. It feels to me at the moment that we have a significant choice to make in our spiritual lives.
Photo by Jon Tyson via Unsplash
For those of us with more time than normal on our hands, we are to a certain extent able to choose what to do with that time, so it makes sense to me that we make that time count and invest in our spiritual health. Just some time every day really seeking out what God is saying to us could have a massive impact on the spiritual temperature of our nation. Half an hour spent in prayer could mean the difference between us just surviving the constraints that are placed upon us, or actually thriving despite the constraints. And if God’s people thrive spiritually during this time, it will give us greater clarity when we come back together, to continue moving forward into the work that the Holy Spirit is surely doing.
The following excerpt from a book by John Ortberg reminds me that I’m in control of the choices that I make, and it also serves as a reminder that I don’t want to get to the end of my life and recognise that I never actually realised my full God – given potential because I never made the choice to do something that he was laying on my heart.
‘To sinful patterns of behaviour that never get confronted and changed, Abilities and gifts that never get cultivated and deployed – Until weeks become months and months turn into years, And one day you’re looking back on a life of Deep intimate gut-wrenchingly honest conversations you never had; Great bold prayers you never prayed, Exhilarating risks you never took, Sacrificial gifts you never offered, Lives you never touched, And you’re sitting in a recliner with a shrivelled soul and forgotten dreams, And you realise there was a world of desperate need, And a God calling you to be part of something bigger than yourself- You see the person you could have become but did not; You never followed your calling. You never got out of the boat.’
...But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid...” Matthew 14:27 NIV
- Bev Jones