I've been thinking a lot lately about a quote that my mom forwarded to me. It said:
"Almost every trial increases our love for others. So even if we don't see any other good, we know of at least one--more love."
I really liked the quote at first, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized it only applied to people who "choose life." I have seen trials crush my father but grow my mom and me. It really is interesting how "choosing" plays such an important role in faith and how our trials turn out. We literally can choose the bitter and angry route or the love route, and whichever way we choose comes flowing over into our lives and bodies.
I have been mulling that over lately - how each daily choice seems insignificant - each thought we dwell on, each image we take in, each emotion we allow power over us, yet these choices aren't insignificant at all - they are the most significant choices we make. Because each thought I think builds upon the others to influence who I am, how I think, and where I am headed.
I think it's misleading to think of the Christian life as only one single choice for Christ. Granted, it begins that way, but each day after that is a series of choices for either life or death - obedience or rebellion.
This has really come to my attention during the last few years of trials because of how many times I have to consciously decide with my will to continue to believe and wait and have faith, sometimes when I feel very negative emotion...sorrow, fear, grief, discouragement, confusion. Battling these feelings has really highlighted the importance of choosing and exerting my will forcefully in the direction of Christ. Sometimes I think about it as being a boat tied loosely to the dock, and each day I have to make an effort to re-tighten the rope so I don't let the current of this trial gradually pull me away from the shore and into the rapids.
I think choosing life ultimately means choosing to obey in those nitty-gritty moments of pain. Resisting death, for me, can be as simple as singing praise to God from the heart, repeating a promise from scripture, or even harder - a quiet surrender of the will. Not what I will, Lord, but what you will.
This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.