Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Decision Based On Consequences or the Will of God?

At our church this week, we are having a gospel meeting. For those outside the churches-of-Christ, this is sort of akin to a "revival." The theme of the week is "The seen and the unseen."

(the following is a point somewhat based on semantics, so let's not start throwing dictionaries at each other)

At one point, the speaker (I'll call him John) was talking about how what we typically perceive as "decision making" is usually not really decision making at all. It's more of a reaction to stimuli. You are faced with a certain situation, such as "what shall we have for dinner?" or "what kind of car should we buy next?" You weigh the consequences of your potential actions ("If we eat at McDonald's, we will die earlier", or "If I buy an SUV just to make myself feel sporty, I'm a dolt") and "decide" to pursue the better option because it suits you best. As John stated...a mere reaction to stimuli.

So. The point was that there were two ways of making decisions (and in the context of the lesson, only one way of making a true decision): 1) let potential consequences decide your actions, or 2) have faith and let the will of God decide your actions. Method #2 does require much faith, and moreso the weightier the decision.

Of course, sometimes the will of God is not so apparent, depending on your circumstances. And even if you believe the will of God is X in your life, it might be Y in that person's life. Other times, it is fairly apparent, such as "I'm feeling convicted of my sins and want to make Jesus my Lord...should I get baptized?" or "Should I help out my family member who is not a leeching moocher and is in genuine need?"

Both of us came away from Tuesday night's lesson reflecting on that point as it related to fostering. After the past weekend's foster parent training sessions, both of us felt a bit overwhelmed with what we might have to deal with. (Sunday's session consisted of lesson modules detailing all the abuse issues we might encounter) Especially with children in the older age range with which we would be comfortable (such as 3 or 4 year olds). Tuesday's lesson encouraged us to, if not comfortable with 3's/4's, at least accepting newborns or infants into our home. I am aware that each age brings its own challenges and that infants might not be any easier...but the fact is that we'd feel more comfortable with that age. An emotionally disturbed infant won't try to kill Luna or burn down our house ;)

Of course, nothing is set in stone yet. We are still praying that God reveals His will for us. If God says not to do it, then we will/should not. But at the moment, we are feeling like we should. Thanks to everyone's comments in the previous post about fostering, and special thanks to Julie for her honest answer.

We would appreciate everyone's prayers on this matter. Please feel free to leave opinions, encouragement, discouragement, or advice.

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  • Ginny

    Well, I didn't want to be discouraging, but since you asked...

    Fostering/adopting can be so fraught with emotions that you can be blinded to truth and reason for quite a long while. The damage that can be done to both parties is significant. The mess that the government has made of the whole thing is really unbelievable. But, then again, there are children in need, so it is a difficult thing all around. Just know that you are in for a tough time, whether it turns out for good or not. In this situation it is very difficult to keep your wits about you. You may find yourself doing and saying things you never thought you would, just to make the bureaucrats happy so that you can get a child.

    I am not deliberately trying to discourage you. I know many people who have come out the other end and all is well, but many are still struggling to come out with their hearts still beating and all for naught.

    And, yes, we had a couple of bad experiences. One in particular that still hurts after almost 15 years. I still think of the little boy that we had torn away from us for the most ridiculous reason. He called me Mommy.

    The Lord is my Strength and my Joy and He brought me back from the cliff. Hallelujah! He is also in control of that little boys life. Hallelujah! So, pray like you never have before and rest in His arms.

    I hope it all works out well for you, not matter what you decide.