By DANNY MINTON
Winter and her close friend decided to take a trip to New York City to meet another friend and have an office picnic in her Twin Tower office. Before the trip, Winter’s mother called and said she planned to come for a visit. Winter tried to persuade her to change the plans, but her mother felt it was the best time. She canceled her trip to be there for her mother. Her close friend decided to make the trip still. At 8:00 on the morning of September 11, 2001, Winter called her friends who were having the planned picnic. She wished them well, glad they were having a good time, and probably regretting she wasn’t there with them. Minutes later, she would lose both friends when a plane flew into the tower. Winter’s choice to stay home saved her life, her mother’s choice to visit saved her daughter’s life, and a friend’s choice to make the trip cost her life.
We all make choices that affect our lives. Sometimes our decisions lead us to good and better things. Then at times, our choices lead us into directions that bring us trials, struggles, and heartaches. In most cases, we never know where our choices will lead. Sometimes we have to choose quickly, while at other times, we have to agonize over what move to make. We never really know what lies at the end of the road to the choices we make in life. As we ponder the past, we often see times and decisions that we wish we could go back and change. Although we can’t change the past, we can learn lessons from our right and wrong decisions.
Not all choices we make are life and death like Winter or her friend’s. However, every decision we make moves us through this journey called life. Life becomes like a roadmap. We come to a fork in the road and have to decide which way to turn. While some choices seem simple, others cause us to sit at the intersection wondering where to turn. Each road will eventually lead us to the end of our journey, but each will take us in a different direction unknown at the time.
After each choice, we must learn to deal with whatever lies ahead. We choose a career and then deal with the ups and downs, good and bad, and praises and disappointments that we face. Deciding between going on the journey alone or as a married couple can lead us through a whole new page of the map. Children turn the routes we take through different roads, sometimes in several directions. Sickness may lead us down a dark road; death can cause us to break down on the side, making it difficult at times to get moving again. As we grow older, we laugh and cry over the choices we’ve made, some over regret and others over the joy of having taken a particular road. It’s a journey we all have to make. Our choices will determine where we end up.
In the end, what helps us make it through life is not what choices we make but how we handle what each option hands us. The writer of Proverbs gives us a bit of wisdom.
“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21 (NIV2011) That’s the key to making it through our journey. Never give up on God! No matter what choice we make, God is always by our side. Our problem is that we forget that he walks beside us to guide us through the tough times our decisions may bring. Most importantly, when our journey comes to an end, He is right there with us. During those good times, He is there as well, giving us inner peace.
Never be afraid to choose. Just remember that there can be a chance for good in every decision. We may not see it at first, but we can learn to see things in a different light if we look around. No matter what we choose in life, where we turn, what decisions we make, or what road we travel, always remember and keep one vital thought in our hearts. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NIV2011)
Danny Minton is Pastoral Minister and Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ