Thursday, October 6, 2016

If Only - Martin Wiles

If you need wisdom—if you want to know what God wants you to do—ask him, and he will gladly tell you. James 1:5 NLT

No one has penned the “If only” conundrum more appropriately than poet, Robert Frost, in the selection, “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 kept 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.

If not careful, I can be consumed with the “If only’s.” Frost seemed to be as he described two paths, only one of which he could take. He wished he could have taken both—or at least gone back to travel the other he hadn’t taken the first time around—but he couldn’t. 

Life is filled with choices. According to James, God is more than willing to give us wisdom to make those choices if we’ll only ask. 

Not all choices are between good and evil—or even better and best. Frost said both roads looked equally good. He simply couldn’t travel both. I’ve experienced the same. Choosing between right and wrong is easier; choosing between two equally good choices is challenging. Seeking God’s wisdom through prayer, the study of His Word, and advice from wise spiritual counselors is crucial if I’m to avoid the “If only’s” later down the road of life. 

Some roads are labeled “Right” and “Wrong” in bold letters, but that doesn’t necessarily make the choice any easier. Our arch enemy loves to take us down roads he knows will destroy us spiritually and then watch us wallow in regret, shame, and depression later on. Not only does God provide the wisdom to make the right choice in these circumstances, but He also gives us the strength to say, “No,” and take the other path. 

Whatever choice you are faced with in life, God will give you the wisdom to make it if you take time to ask.

Prayer: Father, give us wisdom for the choices we have to make in life. May our choices reflect our love for and faith in You. 

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