Lesson 2: The Power of Choice
We stood in the middle of the grass in a circle. Some hands-on-chin trying to figure out where we wanted to live for the next less-than-24 hours. I had reached the point where I no longer wanted to make decisions. I left this choice on where we’d pitch our tents up to the other six grown adults. Complicated? Will it be the cozy corner lot with added privacy from the forest, the site with easy access to the restrooms, or choice #3 with level ground not too close to the playground? It was HGTV’s House Hunters gone primitive at Inks Lakes State Park. Does the power of choice ever seem more like a curse?
Options are no longer so friendly in my book. Growing up, the freedom to choose is anxiously awaited, but somewhere after picking out the color scheme and style for your apartment and theme for your graduation party, things change. The power of choice seems overrated when we’re so good at making the wrong choices. It might even make you want to move back in with the ‘rents.
“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank” (Dan. 1:8, NKJV).
Making the right choice may seem to be contrary to our nature, but in considering the alternative it’s easy to understand the value of free will. I think about relationships. How does it feel when your significant other “surprises” you with a gift on your birthday? Now, how does it feel when you get that gift out of the blue on September 28th (a day without significance other than being the 271st day of the year)? True love is better seen with the element of choice in the mix. Just as you can tell when your significant other is acting out of obligation versus simply love, our relationship with Christ is measured in the significant choice to surrender our will for His will each day.
As the lesson emphasizes this week, Daniel’s choice, decision, purpose was a matter of the heart. So these are the fundamental basics behind why our God of love opted for freedom of choice as opposed to freedom from choice. The more complicated questions come later when we try to decipher good choices from better choices. If our salvation depends on the choices we make, and we’re prone to making bad choices, what factors do we consider when the right and wrong choices aren’t as clearly black and white as the Lesson 2 picture illustrates? The answer is one of those easier said than understood: The choice that matters is pledging our obedience to God.
As we stood in the middle of nature picking and choosing between site number 59 and 200, I couldn’t help but feel a little silly. When I took a hot shower the next morning in the park, and considered our brothers and sisters in Haiti living in tent cities – our camping “choices” became an ironic luxury. This thing of choice goes back to the tree of life. It’s an opportunity to show God we choose Him in Love. The results include both bumps and easy flowing streams, but the scenic journey is an encounter best viewed from a freely surrendered heart.