Sometime, I think it was early in January, the heater in my car stopped working. I never got around to doing anything about it. Driving was cold, but I could tolerate it. The trip home a couple Tuesday nights ago in freezing rain was no fun, but I managed. It was this past Monday afternoon - in the midst of the snowstorm - that I finally took it into the dealership. It might be a good two weeks until I get it back, but I know it was a good decision to finally take it in. Driving it the rest of this week would have been brutal..
At the dealership they gave me three options for a loaner. I immediately chose the one that had heated seats and remote start. No hesitation or delay here. And I do not think I have to tell you that I am very happy with my decision!
During this same time span I have had multiple conversations with people who are working on making better decisions in their lives. Though the path seldom is glitch free, they all seem to be determined in their efforts. They are pleased with the change in their lives and hopeful for the future.
And they (with me) seem to be experiencing a "David-like Learning Curve." In 2 Samuel 11 King David made a series of bad decisions - I mean, very bad. When the reality finally struck, he had a significant conversation with a prophet named Nathan: David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the Lord." And Nathan said to David, "The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. Nevertheless ..." (2 Samuel 12.13-14)
The Lord's message through Nathan was two-pronged. First, and foremost, was the message of forgiveness. "The Lord also has put away your sin." Jesus does not hold a grudge. Rather, he comes to us to help us move forward. "Nevertheless," he goes on to say, "our lives have a different path because of those decisions." And the residual results of them come at us in a variety of ways - oftentimes blindsiding us at unexpected times.
Probably the best of all decisions is described by David's son, Solomon. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." (Proverbs 3.5-6) Trusting Jesus starts with listening to Jesus, and believing him when he says, "I love you. I forgive you. You are mine" - no matter what the decisions of our past may be. With the past resolved and Jesus at our side, we are better prepared to face the "nevertheless" that is before us.
We all have made bad decisions in our lives. Thus we all need to hear Jesus as he speaks to us through Nathan, "The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. Nevertheless ..." Part of my "nevertheless" will be the repair bill that is likely to come my way. I can't speak of yours. ... except to remind you to "in all your ways acknowledge (Jesus), and he will make straight your paths." And let me tell you, those straight paths make for one delightful walk!