For months Sarah had been looking forward to visiting very special friends in New York State. Then, with the heartbreaking events of September 11th on the East Coast, Sarah’s air travel became an item in serious question. I needed to decide whether she should go or not.
Recently, we had three windows replaced. Unfortunately, the windows all had a manufacturing defect that was discovered after they had been fully installed. The windows worked, but they were very noisy when they were raised or lowered. I really struggled with whether to accept them “as is” or call to see if they could be fixed.
We received an e-mail from a mom who was very unhappy that her post on one of our message boards was not approved. She had promoted something that was unacceptable according to the board’s guidelines, and therefore, her post was not approved. She questioned us by saying it is a free country and why couldn’t she, as a Christian, voice her opinion and spark a good, “healthy” discussion? She had “loaded both barrels” and aimed them at us. What should my response be?
I don’t know about you, but I would rather not have to make difficult decisions or face confrontation! I want for people (especially my family members) to like me and for all my decisions to be good ones. Yes, my family is supposed to follow me even when I make stupid decisions, but it is much easier for them to trust in my leadership if I am making wise choices.
Answers to the above issues I faced would have come far easier had my father taught me how to make a godly decision. I suspect there are a few of you dads whose fathers did teach such things, but I don’t believe too many have had that blessing. Just think if husbands had training in decision-making, how much better we would be prepared to lead our families.
At some point in a career, most of us have probably had a boss who struggled with making wise decisions, and as a result, the department/company suffered. If we will reflect back for a moment on how it felt to be under the authority of someone like that, it should help us understand how the quality of our decisions make our wives and children feel. When we make good (godly) decisions, our families will rejoice (although not always at the very moment), and when we make bad ones, they will be tempted to complain and criticize.
Making wise decisions is an important part of being a good leader. So how can we learn to make wise decisions and, in turn, teach our children how to do so? I can only share what I observe in Scripture and what God has taught me through failures.
First, everything must have a beginning, a point of reference, a foundation. What is yours? Is your beginning at the foot of the cross?
Those who are saved can look to their Lord for direction with confidence that He will direct their paths. “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye” (Psalms 32:8). “For this God is our God forever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death” (Psalms 48:14). “Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory” (Psalms 73:24). Look at what confidence a believer can have when needing to make a decision.
Imagine being able to ask the God of creation, Who knows the beginning from the end, how you should make a decision. That is so amazing; all believers have the same opportunity. All have been granted access to the King to lay their petitions at His feet. Brothers, what good news that is for our families!
Imagine for a moment what navigation was like immediately following the invention of airplanes. A pilot was on his own when he was flying. There were no radar installations, no radio navigation aids such as instrument landing systems or Vortac transmitters. A pilot could not even radio someone for directions. If he wasn’t good at following roads, then his passenger was in trouble.
Now think of the assistance that a pilot has today. Most have on-board radar, radio navigation, flight tracking computers, radar on the ground, radio communications with flight controllers, and probably even global positioning system equipment that pinpoints their position. Never has it been easier for a pilot to decide his flight path and what the conditions will be like en route.
The assistance a pilot has from technology and air traffic controllers is similar to what we have available from the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ. When a pilot takes off toward a certain destination, he does not worry about how he is going to get there. He has a flight plan, and he is counting on certain externals to help him make the trip. That is the way it is for Christians. We have a destination plotted out for us, but there are storms and unforeseen challenges that tend to blow us off course, appearing to threaten progress. We must rely on the One Who is sovereign to direct us according to His will and good pleasure. Men, there is such peace in that for us and those who are “traveling with us.”
A while ago we had a difficult decision to make. I had brought it before my Lord on a daily basis and felt I understood the direction He would have us go. I remember telling Teri about it, knowing she might have some concern about the ramifications. She looked at me and said, “I have seen you seek the Lord and how the Lord has directed you previously. He has never steered us wrong, and I want you to know that I’m trusting you.” I can’t tell you how that made me feel. I think of that fairly often, and even now it is such a blessing to me.
The problems we face are wonderful tools in the hands of our Lord that He uses to draw us closer to Him. They also are great training opportunities for us to use with our children as they see us encounter difficulties and then observe how we respond to them. The three problems I mentioned at the beginning were excellent vehicles to draw me closer to Christ as I sought His will. “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30). Jesus is wisdom personified. May we embrace Him Who is able to give us the direction we need to lead our families.