"My covenant was with him, a covenant of life and peace, and I gave them to him; this called for reverence and he revered me and stood in awe of my name. 6 True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many from sin." (Malachi 2:5-6)
Overly analytical and cautious, I am extremely prone to indecision. When I look back and ponder my past regrets, I recognize they are almost always linked to my inability to choose a path. Decisions are hard for a "control freak" like me. Desperate to make the best choice, I carefully study my options. I think. I ponder. I analyze. I question. And finally, I end up right back where I started, just more perplexed and anxious.
My endless quest for "the best" option, has often led me to heartache and loss. It is a character flaw I had hoped not to pass down to my children. So,naturally, I was a bit dismayed when I witnessed the same indecisive nature in my young son. For the past few weeks, Jack had gone back and forth about his seventh grade schedule. Afraid to choose the wrong electives, he brought his concerns to Marty and me. Time and time again, we counseled Jack to pray and listen to his spirit. One night, gripped with worry, Jack asked vulnerably, "How do I know what my spirit is telling me?"
As he remained paralyzed to make his choice, I saw uncanny similarities between me and my son. Confounded by his options, Jack's heart was filled with confusion. He longed to make the right choice. But, perhaps even more, he desperately wanted to avoid the wrong choice. Even though I completely understood Jack's caution, it was clear to me that choosing a path of confusion would only lead him astray.
His was a question I had pondered many times as well. Determined to quiet the growing sense of anxiety in my son, I researched the word "peace". With Strong's Concordance, I discovered the following synonyms for the word peace:
security (freedom for danger, risk, or uncertainty)
prosperity (a successful, flourishing, or thriving condition)
Suddenly, the answer to Jack's perplexing question seemed so clear and simple. Like his mother, Jack was over thinking his decision. The right choice was the one that led to God's peace.
Feeling bold and empowered, I took this new knowledge to my son and reminded him that Jesus promised peace. Therefore, Jack need not fret as God has instructed him to "Go in peace. His journey has the LORD's approval." (Judges 18:6 NIV) The way was not hidden. Indeed, Jack's path was marked with security, prosperity, felicity. In a word...peace.
Taking some cues from scripture, Marty and I reminded Jack that God did not intend for him to be troubled by his options. To the contrary, God's desire is that Jack would allow God to lead him in peace, not confusion. For, we are told that "God is not a God of disorder but of peace." (1 Corinthians 14:33 NIV). As a child of God, Jack is "to be filled with joy and peace so that joy may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." (Romans 15:13 NIV) So, Marty and I continuously prayed for our son to be led with God's peace. Meanwhile, Jack began to take his thoughts captive and search his heart for peace.
This week, Jack finally had a breakthrough. At the dinner table, Jack announced he had made his final course selection. Although some of his choices were a bit of a surprise, Marty and I supported Jack's decision because his heart is at peace.
With his schedule finalized, Jack is now looking forward to a long and lazy summer. No doubt, next year holds new opportunities for Jack to grow in knowledge and prepare his mind for the future. Perhaps even more rewarding, I see my son growing wise with God, as he learns to walk in peace. (Malachi 2:6 NIV)