Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: 24 Hours (01/27/11)
TITLE: Turn Back Time?
By Joni LeRette-Flores
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What if it were possible to rewind the calendars tracking our lives? We know with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26) and Hezekiah's plea for a sign God's promise was true resulted in backing up a sundial ten degrees (2Kings 20:8-11). What would happen if we could reverse one hour, twenty-four, and make even one choice differently? Would our outcomes be the same or different? When we face a potentially life-altering decision crossroads (e.g., should I say yes to the marriage proposal, take the job, change careers?), does one direction thwart God's ultimate plan or posture a venture outside His will? Is one choice or another God's perfect will or do our outcomes, despite decisions, fall under the umbrella of His sovereignty?
When Daylight Savings Time rolls around each year there is opportunity, at least symbolically, to turn back time, and it gives me great pleasure to anticipate the "extra" hour result. Of course, we are not really reversing; big-picture time moves forward. Nonetheless, I pause in dilemma to understand just exactly how life choices intersect God's will. Not one to physically turn my clocks back 60 minutes each year, I experience a visceral sense of satisfaction hearing the alarm chime and punching "snooze," knowing there is really one more hour available to sleep. (I always think I'll get up and spend my "extra" hour exercising, but sleeping is so much easier!)
I have often pondered what would have happened if just one major life choice had been different in my life. Say, in one hour of turned-back time I started college instead of accepting the job offer? Would God somehow have managed to have me meet my first husband and be mother to my two fabulous children? I certainly would not want to give up the blessings He's given me and wouldn't it be ironic if my life played out in a different direction and I yearned then what I have now?
I fantasize sometimes (okay, often) about what I might have become or how life may have turned out if I had chosen differently. Would I be happier, richer, thinner? Would another path have been more fulfilling, utilized the gifts God has given me in a better fashion? Or would lessons for me be the same because they are customized by God to fit my learning curve and bring about the desired character result?
Perhaps therein lies the answer. If God's universal will is that we be conformed to the image of Christ, then our life choices, when based on a desire to please Him, utilize the resources we have been provided and are within His will. The outcome of our day-to-day decisions, struggles, triumphs and defeats are to bring God glory and so He uses our particular sphere of influence to teach, to bring about the transformation He desires.
I've heard it spoken in countless sermons, "You are right where God wants you to be." At times, the words have brought me great solace. Conversely, there have been times I have been mortally wounded, frustrated, confused at not having reached the pinnacle I thought was God's design, more likely my fancy desire to live a life seemingly less mundane.
Maybe the stirs in our hearts at particular junctures really are God's voice prompting us to say "no" to this, "yes" to that and it is only when the outcomes cause pain or dissatisfaction that we second-guess and think we must have made the wrong decision (and God is punishing us). It could be choices, while not always completely made in peace or resulting in the outcomes we desired, do bring us to where He wants us to be—a spot He directs based on the character and resources He knows we have--to bring about the greatest fruition of maturity in Him.
Perhaps the greatest evidence of Christ-like maturity is realizing whether God gives us an extra minute, hour, twenty-four, or more, our purpose, His will, is to live each one, accepting our lot, running our race, using the knowledge and gifts we have to reflect gratitude for the time He's given us.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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