Does your choice matter?

Do our choices matter?  I read two things yesterday that sparked off each other and melded into a crushing assault that reverberated through me like a Big Ben gong.

1.  “Our stories affect one another whether we know it or not. Sometimes obedience isn’t for us at all, but for another. We don’t know how God holds the kingdom in balance … but we can trust Him when he says press on, cling to hope, stay the course. He is always at work….” [quote from Jen Hatmaker ]*

2.  “Devon bought a gun and killed himself.” [personal email]

Awareness of the truth of the first, and shock and sadness of the second paralyzed me. The utter hopelessness he must have felt gnawed at me. I’ll be juggling emotions and thoughts and responses for a while. But one thing I know:  We are a part of each others’ stories. And somehow Devon slipped between the pages into darkness, and did not know he wasn’t alone or unimportant.

I also know that what Jen said is also true of our prayers. God works in myriad ways we are often not even aware of, and in mysterious ways beyond our understanding. But Scripture tells us to pray and that our prayers have impact. **

And I know that choices we make matter. I must be vigilant and remind myself of this fact. Even when industries and countries and churches and mobs of people in the streets shout:  “You are one alone and your little bit of action isn’t going to make any difference. Will not move the decisions of the powerful one smidgen.” Even when doubts are whispered to my spirit “Who do you think you are? Your effort, your prayer, will not put a scratch, much less a dent, in the collective needs of this world.” These taunts are lies and I must choose to remember that. I’m guessing you do too.

The truth is ~~ all of history is the accumulation of every action and word of every individual. And if I do not remember what is real and what is shadow, I might follow Devon into the hopelessness.

If you are in a dark, lonely place, please choose to reach out. At the very moment of your darkest hour, the lightning-bright answer may already be on its way!

*          Jen Hatmaker, 7, (Nashville: B & H Publishing Group, 2012), 114.

**        “Pray without ceasing.” [1 Thessalonians 5:17, KJV]

“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” [James 5:16, KJV]


My name is Mary … but I’m a Martha.

Not especially happy about that. But it just may be my nature. I’ve been a fretter since toddler days. Seems I’ve always worried about things and worked quite hard to try to understand — everything.

I think that was often an effort to push away fear. To delude myself into thinking if I understood something I could control it. That works okay when applied to plugging in a hairdryer, managing a clutch in a manual transmission car, or training your dog. But the practice doesn’t work well with the world in general. As Solomon tells us in Ecclesiastes, trying to learn everything is like “grasping the wind.” [Eccl. 1:12, 17, 2:17, 26 NKJV]

He also mentions that “He who increases knowledge increases sorrow.” [Eccl 1:18 NKJV]

Yikes. How’s that for encouragement?

Well, here’s the encouragement: God has given us the gift of CHOICE.

As I prayed about what word He might want me to focus on this year, I considered LEAN, as in “lean into,” since I failed so often this year to WALK WITH Him moment by moment. I’d start the day staying close. But often when the day’s agenda became clear, I became like an arrow–shot in some direction and flying as I’d been launched. Evening would bring awareness that I missed some detours and side roads I’d been meant to travel. And God reminded me that I had the choice to continue that practice or change.

A dear friend, Carol King, used to talk about “double witness.” That when God chose to give you two or more versions of the same message at the same time, He wanted you to PAY ATTENTION.

Well, He gave me the point about CHOICE way more than twice in one day! One is a photo (which I can’t reproduce due to copyright, but you can see it on my FB page on Jan 1) saying “Your Call.” My devotional by Max Lucado has a section about “Today I choose …” and on Jan 1 he made the point if I choose to talk to God, God will always listen.  And — surprise! — today’s devo. is called “Chosen People.”

Duh. I think I get it. This year I’m aiming to remember that moment by moment, I have choices–about focusing on gratitude or grief, trusting or trying, resting in God’s care or running my own show. Any choices you are facing?