Monday, January 07, 2013

The Story: Chapter 1 - Choice

Hopefully none of my high school teachers are regular readers of my blog... but I'm sad to say that I don't remember many of the things that I learned in high school.  I don't remember how many electrons an element of sodium has.  I don't remember the names of all the bones in the human skull.  I don't remember how to say "what are we having for dinner?" in Spanish.  I don't remember how to rewire a lamp from shop class.  (Although at one point... I did know all those things...)

But I do remember this poem by Robert Frost (taken from here) called "The Road Not Taken"...

"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could, To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear, Though as for that the passing there,  Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay, In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I marked the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh, Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference." 

I have always loved that poem.
Choice is a good thing.  Coke or Pepsi... Steak or chicken... The Cubs or everyone else.  Choice is good. And God designed us with choice.  Take a look:

15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” Genesis 2:15-17, NIV 

When God created this world and all of its contents, he designed humanity with the ability to choose.  You can choose your likes.  You can choose your preferences.  You can choose whether or not you will follow God.  And that's a good thing.

God could have created humanity without the ability to choose.  He could have created me like my iPhone.  My iPhone doesn't get the choice of what to do.  It does what I tell it to do.  While this is helpful in getting things done (imagine if my iPhone could say, "No, I don't feel like checking your email feed right now).  But it's not helpful in terms of it's love and appreciation for me.

God designed us and created us so that we could choose to love Him... so that we could choose to follow Him... so that we could choose to appreciate Him.  That's why God put the tree in the middle of the garden.  That tree presented a choice.  Follow God or not.  Unfortunately, we chose not in that instance and brought sin into our world.

But we are still presented with the choice.  The choice to follow.  The choice to pursue God.  God could have created us like mindless robots, who are relentless in our pursuit of God without a choice or he could have created us as choice-ful humans, who can choose to relentlessly pursue God.  I'm glad He chose the later.

Noah was faced with this choice.  In a few chapters after the fall of humanity through the sin of Adam and Eve, God came to Noah with a choice.  Noah had found favor in God's eyes and the earth's wickedness had made God sad.  So God decided to start over... with Noah's family.  God came to Noah and asked him to build an ark.  That ark would save humanity and all of creation.  But Noah was faced with a choice: Do his own thing or follow the instructions of God.  Noah chose to obey God.

Today, you are presented with a choice: Follow your own way... Follow God's way... Those two paths end up in very different places.  I know which path I have chosen.  And I'm grateful for the chance to choose!


BTW: This is part of a 31-week series that I am doing here on my blog in conjunction with our church reading The Story together.  Here is a link to the first post in this series.  Feel free to click "The Story" label below to see other posts in this series.

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