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At the Crossroads- Knowing How to Make the Right Decisions



Aloha Ladies! Welcome back!


Today, I want to share a story I wrote several years ago about my Uncle.   It's a story from his childhood, and when he first shared it with me, I thought I was listening to a Hallmark movie.    Yet, his story is real and will forever impact me.   It’s a story of an orphan and how he changed all because of a choice he made at the crossroads.


So, here goes…


He sits before me, a 70-year-old man of a slight build, with a shock of white hair sticking out from under his ball cap and tears glimmering in his eyes. He says very softly, "I've never been able to talk about this without choking up -the day I will never forget- that changed my life forever- December 21, 1954- the day my Daddy died."    


He carefully shares his story, which begins when he is eleven at his grandmother's house studying for a history test. His Daddy stops by before work and spends time quizzing his son to ensure he’s ready for his test. His father ruffles his hair before leaving and says "goodbye" for the last time. Little did either know, the father's brand-new car would stall on the railroad tracks near their home right in the path of a fast-approaching train. With no time to react, the vehicle is struck, catapulted 600 feet down the tracks, and crushed like an aluminum can. The boy’s mother, hearing the impact, runs immediately to the scene to be the very first to discover her husband’s mangled body.


That day, a widow was born, and a young boy was left fatherless and forever changed.


Ten brief years later, the boy faces death once again. This time, his beloved mother. The doctors say it was a heart attack, but the boy knows better, as his mother never quite recovered from that devastating day when her heart was broken as she stood over her husband’s body.  


Now, at only twenty-one, he is left an orphan. Disappointment and anger are badges he wore prominently on his chest. Who could blame him?


Until the day he encounters a crossroads and must choose between life and death. 


The crossroad was unexpected. The day was like any other day except on this particular day; an elderly gentleman was dispatched as a “temp” worker to fill in at the used car dealership where this young man was working. The young man recalls that he knew something was different about that day, but he couldn't quite put his finger on it. The day was slow, business was terrible, and a storm forced everyone inside.   The young man found himself having to pass the time alone with this "temporary worker.” They spend hours together talking about insignificant things until the elderly man asks a curious question, “What is the single worst thing that has ever happened to you?”  Without thinking, the young man responds-"The day my daddy died," and he proceeds to share the story of his father’s death. Much to his surprise, the elderly stranger openly breaks down and weeps. His reaction seemed to be excessive and caused the young man to pause.


You see, the older man was a retired train conductor, and he begins to share that the worst day of his life was when he tried valiantly to stop his train before hitting a young father whose brand-new vehicle was stalled on the railroad tracks!   


The young man was stunned as the realization hit him that he was sitting face-to-face across from the very man who ruined his life! The man who ripped his father (and mother) from him and left him with a life of loneliness, anger, and disappointment. 


Hence, the crossroad and a choice.  


Choose the path of life that leads to redemption, healing, forgiveness, and freedom, OR choose the path of death, the path of unforgiveness and bitterness that leads to more suffering, pain, and confinement.  


This day was a crucial turning point for both men, and it began when the orphan responded. Redemption, healing, and forgiveness were given when the young man chose a new path. He decided to believe that God is good ALL the time and that the tragedy of what happened to his parents would not forever cause him to wear a badge of anger and disappointment.


On that ordinary day, God intervened and brought two strangers together who had no idea they shared the same tragedy. And on this day, a hurt young man was able to face and forgive the man who had not only taken his father away but stole the innocence of his childhood.   A day that set them both free! 


Like I said in the last episode, scars from our past take time to heal.   It is a process, yet it often begins when we stand at the crossroads and have to make a choice!


Deuteronomy 30:19-20 tells us:


"Today, I am giving you a choice of two ways, and I ask heaven and earth to witness your choice. You can choose life or death. The first choice will bring a blessing, and the other will bring a curse. So, choose life! Then you and your children will live. You must love the Lord your God and obey Him. Never leave Him.  Because He is your life, and He will give you a long life in the land that He the Lord promised to give your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob."  


Disappointments, hurt, and tragedies are staples in this life that we simply cannot escape. The question isn't how to avoid them but how to deal with them. All of these are crossroads, and when they come, may this story compel you to choose your path in life!


How I wish my Uncle had shared his story earlier in my life, as so many of my mistakes and regrets that plagued me for many years could have been avoided.


If I had fully grasped the depths of making decisions out of fear and choosing the easier road- the world's way. Maybe I would have avoided a teenage marriage, adultery, and a divorce. Perhaps I would have chosen a different career and stayed in the military—so many maybes. 


Oh, that I would have understood more and overcome fear with wisdom at an earlier age!


This reminds me of a Bible study I did last year, Lyrics of Life by Lisa Harper, with one particular session that stands out, "Walk This Way," dealing with Psalm 1, which speaks about wisdom and that wisdom is all about making wise choices. 


Psalm 1 reads:


Blessed is the one

    who does not walk in step with the wicked

or stand in the way that sinners take

    or sit in the company of mockers,

but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,

    and who meditates on his law day and night.

That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,

    which yields its fruit in season

and whose leaf does not wither—

    whatever they do prospers.

 Not so the wicked!

    They are like chaff

    that the wind blows away.

Therefore, the wicked will not stand in the judgment,

    nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,

    but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.


 Those blessed are blessed because they have happiness, contentment, and fulfillment, not because of their circumstances in this world but because of their relationship with the Lord.   This relationship brings power, life, and fulfillment. It brings peace that surpasses all understanding.    It calls us to appreciate our choices.   Honestly, a wise, blessed person knows that there are only two choices in life-  God's way or the world's way. God's way will always lead to life- and the world’s way to wickedness and destruction.   


The longer I live, the more I realize that life is an endless selection of choices. 


When we come to the crossroads of life, and we must make a decision, whether big or small, we need to stop and see clearly that we are facing a crossroad, and this crossroad has two very distinctive signposts. One says, "God's Way," and the other says, "The World's Way," as we've paused for that moment, we need to recognize a path must be chosen.  


We see in Colossians 3:16 – “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom.” Just like Psalm 1’s wisdom, it comes from making wise decisions. 


So, let's choose today as I admonish you in wisdom that we choose God's way EVERY SINGLE TIME- that we would press forward and link our actions to our belief.  


 It's all about the choices that we make. The key to your life is the choices that you make. The Bible tells us to make wise choices- to choose whom we will serve this day.   The Lord is so good that he gives us the freedom and the ability to choose. We can choose to focus and pay attention over distractions; we can choose contentment and joy over disappointment, and we can choose to be bold and courageous over depression and fear.


Everything is a choice. So, again, I say choose life!   Choose the Lord! Seek Him in all your ways. Seek Him, and you will find him. Knock, and the door will be opened.


The accurate measure of freedom is the ability to see clearly, recognize when you are at the crossroads, and understand the two signposts and the destinations they lead to…. one leads to life and the other leads to destruction and death every single time.   


Ladies, I admonish you to choose wisely.   Because your choices not only impact yourself for the here and now- they also affect others and carry eternal consequences. 

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