Vale of Tears

Too Many Choices



Too Many Choices

Wer hat Wahl hat Qual – Many choices bring pain.
(German proverb)

In most good dramas, much of the tension, centres around the choices that the protagonists make. Since most grief events in our own real-life dramas call for a bewildering number of decisions (most of which we would not have chosen to have to make!) may the Lord help us to choose wisely. Especially since our emotions are sure to be already stretched and strained.

In the weeks following the strange spasms setting in that were afflicting Ros (which we wrote about earlier) we found it hard to be sure who we should share this with. We finally settled on about sixty people who felt were particularly trustworthy – but soon found it exhausting having to respond to their well-intentioned feedback.

Lovingly offered though their suggestions were, many of them felt to us as though they stemmed not from the Lord Himself, but rather from experiences that these people had themselves gone through, or which they had heard about from others. We found the sheer number of these alternatives overwhelming, especially because they were often mutually contradictory. It was rather like being told that Ros was either suffering from mumps, measles, chicken pox or housemaid’s knee!

Since, by definition not all these ‘diagnoses’ could possibly be right, we found the whole experience profoundly disorientating, and as much a pressure as a help. We quickly noted that the more intensely people offered them, the less they witnessed to our spirits.

The one ‘constant’ that emerged which we did feel comfortable with was that this was first and foremost a spiritual assault – in other words something to resist rather than to accept and adapt to. It was with this in mind that I organised the day of prayer I described earlier which brought about the breakthrough healing.

Taking our Stand

Choices are easier to make when we are clear about what it is that we are trying to achieve.

Taking a stand for our principles always calls for considerable courage, though, especially if we are pretty certain that they are likely to prove unpopular in certain quarters. There may well come times though when, like Martin Luther, we can ‘do no other’ than to take our stand and stick to it. To hesitate and hold back at this point would be to yield to the fear of man, and to risk missing our goal altogether. No wonder Paul urges us to be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power, putting on the full armour of God, so that we can take our stand against the devil’s schemes . . . so that when the day of evil comes, we may be able to stand our ground, and after we have done everything, to stand. (Eph.6:10-13)

If I may take an example that means a lot to us, we had always wanted our last child, Dominic, to be born at home, just as Tim had been. But then a consultant we had never met before summoned Ros when she was forty weeks pregnant, and, without even bothering to raise his eyes from his desk to look directly at us, told her forcefully that he wanted her to come into the hospital right now for an induction “because babies die if they are left in the womb.”

He had chosen the wrong person to try to intimidate! Well aware that Ros’s gestation cycle regularly takes her quite some way beyond her due date, she was able to stand her ground and refuse to go in. Not every woman would have been able to withstand such pressure at such a vulnerable time. The simple fact is that if she had packed ger bags and made her way into hospital then we would have missed a wonderful home water birth!

Not all such choices and dilemmas have such neat and tidy outcomes. Tragedy strikes unexpectedly, and we may be left grief-stricken and frustrated because we were unable to secure the specialized help we needed. Or the medical staff lose interest because they consider the situation to be beyond their ability to resolve, and turn their attention to acute cases that may lead to a more “favourable” outcome.

There will always be choices to make, and how we handle these “choosing moments” is all important. Putting off making any decision at all is still a “choice” – though by no means always the wisest one. May the Lord inspire us to make choices that will work out for the best in the short, medium and long term. May He also find ways to straighten out and redeem the foolish ones we have made along life’s way!

Reflect and Pray

Faithful God,
Align our hearts to Yours,
in true wisdom and humility.

Be with us in the specific choices
that we must make,
and so help us to find
the paths that You have prepared for us.

In Jesus name, Amen.