As I was riding on the back of the ATV through a very cold and rainy day, I thought about the options of the trails. We could travel a little faster on the flat, open trails, but that meant the rain hit us harder, and the wind seemed stronger and colder. The smaller, secluded trails gave us some protection but the wind and rain, we had to go slower. One route was more straight and direction; the other meandered. One let us see a broader perspective; the other protected us from the elements.
Choices are not all cut-and-dried, even when we’re following God. I see so many rants on social media, claiming “If we would all just agree that this issue is important, and this side is the only real choice, then all would be right with the world.” I’m not saying there are no absolutes. If you follow my blog, you know that is far from the truth. I believe in some non-negotiable absolutes. I believe God’s Word is true. I also believe we live in a confusing, chaotic world, and we easily get disoriented. Our perspective gets out of whack. There are some definite lines in the sand, but many times, I believe we want to put a line in concrete, camp out beside it, and personally take on the responsibility of policing anyone who comes near it from either side.
I think God gives us a lot of freedom. He gives us some choices that are right versus wrong. Those are spine issues. They’re essential to faith and to life. But they are also few in number. Then, there are bazillion rib issues…the many other choices we face. Just as the open road and the secluded path both took us where we needed to go on the ATV but the challenges (and benefits) we’d face with each one differed, we stand at many intersections that don’t take us in opposite directions of right and wrong but journey options of the lessons we’ll learn and the struggles we’ll have.
What rib issues are you making into spine issues?
Jewish tradition taught that there were/are 613 commandments in the Old Testament. People divided over them, arguing how to obey them or which ones were more important. Jesus cleared it up:
“Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?”
He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”
Still, we argue, putting our own preference or opinion as to what should be done in each situation on the mantle to be followed, obeyed, and worshiped. God’s path isn’t the easy path, but there is more than one difficult path options. We need to discern which one God wants us to take and trust someone else might need to face other struggles in order to get closer to Him along the way. Choices are not always cut-and-dried.