Our lives are full of choices. Whether or not to get up in the morning, to be productive, to be light, to be love to the world around us. The choices that define us, the ones that are not easy, are the ones that often come with the most controversy. Not only because they help shape us, but they define the world around us as well.

At 8 years old, I made the public decision to follow Christ. In reality, I made the private decision long before in my friend’s bunk bed with a lot of tears and determination. The memory is forever ingrained in my mind. I remember the low lighting, the flower pattern of the border wall paper, even the smell of the room. It was the moment I realized I had a Savior, the moment I realized I had to follow Him. There are several moments that are crystal clear like that first one. Turning points, if you will, in my walk with Christ that are often accompanied with tears, surrender, and relief.

These moments are ones that all options come with a consequence. Moments where the right choice isn’t always easiest, but there’s always something to be learned from them. 

Hard choices help us grow

There is no doubt that our greatest times of growth come when we’re uncomfortable. When we find ourselves in a place of comfort, we have no desire to move, stretch, leave. Instead, the difficult choices that we find ourselves in encourages us to step out in faith. Esther’s life was filled with hard decisions, decisions that affected her well-being, her people, and the testimony she was living. Society would have told her to keep her head down about her lineage. I’m sure her handmaidens and those she surrounded herself with on a daily basis told her how easy it would be to stay silent, to allow whatever may come to her people and thrive under the king, but God had a different plan. Through Mordecai, God showed wisdom that thoroughly contrasted that of the world. He called Esther to step out in faith. God never called any of us to the life of easy living, and these choices encourage us to grow and thrive. 

Hard choices remind us of God’s sovereignty

This past year has been an eye-opening experience of difficult situations and the amazing sovereignty of God. In the midst of suffering, in the midst of trials, in the midst of situations where there doesn’t seem to be a ‘right’ choice, God is in control. It’s understanding this that makes our faith strong. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had faith in God’s sovereignty even when facing the fire. They didn’t know God would save them, there was never a promise for a rescue, but they knew the choice was either trust in God or fall with men. In the same way, Mordecai told Esther that she could choose not to speak up, but God would save his people regardless, whether that included them or not.  When we come to place where neither choice is appealing, we can rest in the hope that God is sovereign. 

Through the trials, we have hope

If you have not read James, I highly encourage you to do so. His letter is full of hope and encouragement through life’s difficult situations. I often find myself studying James when I seem particularly stuck in a rough patch or unable to decide between option a or option b. These trials, these choices we must face, they are not senseless. We can face them head on, knowing our God is in control and that we have hope in Christ Jesus. 

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. -James 1:2-4