Recently we drove by an 18-foot fork in the road in Pasadena, one I love to see anytime we’re in the area (see picture and link for history*). As many times as I’ve seen it, this time it hit me more how the figurative forks in our road, or our decisions, change our lives.
A big decision can feel overwhelming and difficult or it may seem spontaneous and impulsive. For instance, we usually think long and hard about the marriage we’re about to enter or if we’re going to accept a new job, but some of us don’t think carefully about getting behind the wheel of a car after we’ve been drinking, sleeping with a person we’ve just met, or stealing ideas from someone at work.
All these choices change our lives in specific, sometimes dramatic ways. Some of their effects are more obvious than others. Certain decisions lead to paths that are easy to read, while others take us down paths that are deceptively lush and green but full of potholes and cliffs.
This line of thinking is behind the famous Robert Frost poem, The Road not Taken.** Frost explains that he chose the “less traveled” road. However, is Frost’s advice always the best decision for everyone? How do we know which road to take?
First, let’s try Scripture. After all, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). Are there verses or even chapters that can shed light on the choice set in front of you?
If you’re not sure where to turn in the Bible, ask a trusted friend. Also, talk to that friend about the decision you’re facing and “listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom for the future” (Proverbs 19:20).
Next and always, “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6). Go to God in prayer. Thank him for his blessings and guidance, and then ask him for help with your decision.
Lastly, you may have to sit down and “wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:14). Notice that the word wait is used twice. I think we need that extra reminder sometimes.
The fork in the road may be unknown and even a little scary, but “trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
God doesn’t promise us that the path will always be pretty, filled with riches, or even without difficulty. However, we know that he knows where we’ve been, he’ll always walk beside us, and he knows what’s ahead. Let’s lean into that assurance as we face the forks in our road.
by Lori Ottaviano, ABC member