If anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops. II Timothy 2:5, 6 (NASB)
Winding through the valleys our train left Durango, Colorado. Progressing slowly but surely around treacherous curves with drop offs into canyons, then up, up, up to about ten thousand feet to reach the former silver mining town of Silverton, Colorado.
Sitting inside the passenger car, as I admired the beautiful scenery, I tried to imagine what life must have been like a century ago. What different types of adventures and challenges I might have faced.
Back then, a woman might have chosen to stay out East, in a civilized town or bustling city. Apprenticing to a printer, a hat maker, or a baker, if I was so fortunate, would lead to a life of plenty.
Maybe if my family had a ranch, that might be an option to carry on the family business by working alongside my father, mother, uncle, or aunt to learn all there was to learn in agribusiness.
Or I might leave the beaten path and the security of the people who have known me since I was in diapers and go off to find new places, people, and begin with my skills to set up a life all my own. Maybe I would have been a mail order bride.
There were so many choices in life. What kind of talents do I have? Do I start up a business? Should I go to college, to trade school, or join the military? Who should I marry? Who should I trust and befriend? Where do I settle down?
Many of our issues are more or less self-imposed. They
are a result of our choices, our attitudes, and our character. When there
are outside factors that come to wreak havoc on our peace, like
hazardous weather, sickness, animal attacks, war, or disturbing killings or maiming, it is our response to those sufferings that defines us and our particular way of reacting is of our own choosing and determines outcomes.
Free will to choose is the biggest option in the whole game of life.
The great Conductor wrote love letters to explain the pitfalls of bad decisions. He encourages me to stay out of debt, to give to the poor, to work so that I can eat, to be gentle and kind when others go through tough times. How to have good relationships. The directions are plain as day and not just moral, but practical. The Bible is a track to steer me clear of disasters that I could bring upon myself.
I continue to enjoy the ride as well as the people I've come to know and share experiences with along the way. The freedom to choose each day from all of the options before me boggles my mind at the calculated outcomes we could end up with in a week alone. So many yeses compared to the few warnings and prohibitions for my protection.
I gaze and admire the majestic beauty of His creation all around me, the simple pleasures reach my senses daily.
I am grateful oh God for sharing the wealth of your wisdom, so that when I have crossroads, I can reflect, find counsel, and choose wisely. I am grateful that when I mess up, forgiveness is available. So much is gained from errors. God's wisdom just shines that much clearer. Then another opportunity waits for me and I begin again.
Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels. The Lord's bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those in opposition. II Timothy 2:22-25a (NASB)