Readings: Exodus 1: 1-2:10, Psalm 124
In times of personal crisis that comes from a decision we’ve made; we have an opportunity to reflect on the reason why we ended up in this crisis and that is normally accompanied by regret for doing or not doing something because it may have prevented the crises and so we say a lot of “if only I had…”. This bargaining process doesn’t really help us move on but it does help us think a little deeper about the consequences the next time we choose a particular course of action.
The other side of this is where we celebrate the fact that we made a seemingly insipid decision that led to us being saved from a crises. The expression “A near miss” almost doesn’t make sense for this kind of a moment because a near miss sounds very much like a close hit, but as an expression it speaks of an unplanned event that does not result in injury or damage. Thank heavens I decided to put a seatbelt on just before we had the accident because if I hadn’t done that I would have been in the street right now having passed through the windscreen instead of stepping out of the door. I’m glad I decided not to go to the beach for ice-cream when I hear how the water flooded the shop at the time I would have been there.
Spur of the moment decisions that prevent us from suffering loss are not that different to spur of the moment decisions that bring trouble. Spur of the moment decisions with serious consequences are often decisions that are neither here nor there when we make the decision, but timing and a lack of concentration can lead to an event that is significant. Whether I turn left and then right at this intersection or left and then right at the next intersection might not make a difference in a simple world, but in a complex one; the drunk driver who was not able to pay attention and my thinking about what I needed to do before the meeting combine at the next intersection resulting in an accident. There are so many variables at work in the world that we will never be able to avoid all incidents, but we can avoid most of the incidents if we are paying attention to what is going on around us at all times.
Some decisions are not decisions that we should make on the spur of the moment, because some decisions are not decisions that are neither here nor there because those decisions determine which of our potentials we will grow into. Choosing to glorify God, to worship Him with our lives and to trust our lives to His Spirit is one of those decisions. In fact I would go so far as to say that it is the most important decision you will ever make because it is the one decision that will determine whether you will fulfill the potential of your creation or whether you will fulfill the potential of your fallen nature. When the Psalmist writes: “thank God that God was on our side because if He wasn’t on our side, we would have been destroyed”, it is a prayer of gratitude for a life-long decision to follow God. It is not a prayer celebrating the chance avoidance of an incident, but a prayer celebrating a choice to follow God and be on God’s side because that is what will ensure that God is on our side. When we are doing what God is doing, then God is on our side. When we face opposition for being faithful then God is on our side. Pay attention to your faith. Pay attention to your relationship with God. Pay attention so that you will know when God is saving you from trouble. Pay attention so that you will know when God is using you to save someone else from trouble.