You who dwell in the garden with friends in attendance,let me hear your voice.
Song of Songs 8:13
We all have to make a thousand decisions every day. Many are easy and can be made without thinking; blinding flash moments really, since the answer is obvious. Sometimes though the decision requires a lot more thought and consideration, like choosing a life partner, changing jobs or maybe taking on an additional responsibility. In such cases it can help to write down the pros and cons. Equally, it might be useful to talk things over with a trusted friend or relative.
Speaking of blinding flashes remember the story of the hot-headed young Pharisee and Christian persecutor Saul on his way to Damascus with letters from the high priest to the synagogues there, (Acts 9: 1-19), so that ‘if he found any there who belonged to the Way he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.’ Acts 9:2 NIV. Nearing Damascus a blinding flash caused him to fall to the ground as Jesus asked him why he persecuted Him. Now he was really worried. Whilst he had once been a student of the more liberal Rabbi Gamaliel who as a member of the Jewish Council advised against punishing the early Christians severely, yet Saul had rebelled against his teacher by allying himself with the corrupt hierarchy of the Temple. Maybe the old man had been right all along, he might have thought.
Suddenly Paul had a life changing decision to make. Should he continue with the high priest's orders or side with those of ‘the Way’? On the one hand he was a well thought of young Pharisee who, if this mission was successful would be held in high esteem with the priesthood. Think of all the wealth and status that might bring. Anyway, was this voice he had heard real? After all his companions heard a noise but did not see anyone. Yet when he got up he could not see anything; he had to be led by the hand to Damascus. The whole event was deeply troubling yet he knew he had to make a decision, one way or the other. He had spent the next three days turning the matter over and over in his mind, but unable to come to a decision when Ananias came to the house where he was staying. Whilst the Bible does not say so, I suspect that they spent some time discussing what had happened but ultimately: ‘Placing his hands on Saul, he said, ‘Brother Saul, the Lord – Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here – has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit’ Acts 9:17. The decision had been made! Thanks be to God.
In our decision making we must talk things over with our best friend, the one who loves us and wants the best for us - God; the same God who appeared to Saul. Let us pray for God’s help whilst remembering that whilst there are no guarantees of success, whatever decision we come to He will love us just the same.
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time work for a number of years