Saturday, January 14, 2012

Can We Really Make Mistakes?

One of the most challenging aspects of having a chronic illness, especially a rare and hard to diagnose illness like mine, is trying to figure out which treatment path(s) to take and then in turn dealing with regret over past treatments tried or untried.  What if I hadn't gone to that chiropractor...maybe that's what caused this mysterious illness in the first place! Maybe I should have tried acupuncture even if it's not covered by my insurance. And not just treatments, but there's the worry about what daily activities to perform. Should I go to the grocery or is that the way I want to use my energy? Should I try to exercise a little or will it flare up my pain?  And then there is the financial concerns. Should we travel and see this specialist or is it a waste of money? Massage helps my condition, but at $60 a session it's not fitting in the budget.

This past Monday was my pudendal nerve decompression surgery date, but I chose to instead try other treatments first and postpone possible surgery until July. With my pain increasing, medications no longer helping much, and the number of treatment options decreasing, it's hard not to wonder, "did I make a mistake?" Should I have gone ahead and had the surgery? I'm already lying around most of the day....I could be recovering right now!

This is something I have thought about a lot lately: can a follower of our sovereign God who is seeking Him really make a mistake when it comes to making a decision? Of course we sin and fall short of His glory every day so I am not talking about moral decisions or actions that result in something that is obviously contrary to scripture. I am talking about decisions such as should we move? should I have this procedure? should I have a baby? should I take this job? should we buy a boat?. Answers for these types of choices are not clearly defined in the Bible.

"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:2

When we are daily renewing our mind  reading God's word, praying, and truly seeking and desiring God's will above our own, the Bible says we will be able to discern God's will. Interestingly it says that we will discern His will by testing so we shouldn't be surprised that His will often involves trials and testing. So if we are renewing our mind and seeking God and make a decision concerning specific things the Bible doesn't address like in my case -should I have this surgery or not- should we worry that the decision we made was a mistake?

I don't think so because the Bible tells us God is sovereign, in control of everything, and God has complete foreknowledge, even of human choices.

"Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, 'My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure.'" Isaiah 46:9-10

My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. Psalm 139:15-16

God has written out what would happen every day of our life from before we were born! And His purpose for our life will be accomplished, period. So, yes, my decision to postpone (or perhaps not have surgery) could be a "mistake" in the fact that it could delay my chance of healing. But even so, it is not really a mistake because this is what has happened so it is obviously God's plan for my life. He is working out His purpose for me which may include healing or it may not, but I take great comfort in knowing that even in my "mistakes" I cannot stay God's hand.

At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, "What have you done?"  Daniel 4:34-35

If you, like I, struggle with doubts about past decisions or worry about future descisions take courage and rest knowing we serve a God who not only sees the future but is working in us to bring about His good, perfect, and acceptable will.

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