Do you remember the story of Elijah the prophet confronting the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah? The story is found in I Kings 18. “Elijah approached the people and said, ‘How long are you going to struggle with the two choices? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him. But the people did not answer him so much as a word.” Sitting in the middle between two or more decisions, unable to make up one’s mind which way to go will drive a person insane. There are few things in life more frustrating that not being able to make up your mind about something. Most of the time the decisions we struggle most with aren’t ones between good and bad but between two things or three things that all have some good elements to them but usually some things that are difficult to imagine or figure out. In many cases either decision would be far better than standing the middle unable to decide which way to go.
When I’m having difficulty making a decision about something that is making me miserable, I like to do something that will probably sound strange to you. I like to watch a baseball game. But in this situation, I don’t care at all who wins the ballgame. Instead of paying attention to the players or the progress of the game, I focus altogether on the umpire behind the plate. They are the best illustration of decision making that I have ever seen. Imagine this guy standing back there watching the ball coming across the plate at 100 miles per hour and it is right at the edge of the plate. Can you even imagine the umpire rubbing his chin and saying, “Man I need to see that one again. It was so close I’m not sure I can decide how to call it. What do you think I should do?” No, in a split second the umpire will shout “ball” or “strike” and hold up the hand and fingers to make the point. What is remarkable to me is that it is very seldom the case that anyone will argue with the umpire about his decisions. I know there are times when he calls someone “safe” or “out” that a coach or even the catcher or the player sliding into home plate will argue their case. But think of how many decisions this person will make in the average ball game about which no one even raises a question. Does he ever miss a call? Certainly! But in our time of technology all over the place, it is amazing how few times there is any question about his call. Every time I go through the exercise of watching this person make hundreds of decisions in the ballgame and then go home after the game I’m encouraged to be a decision maker that never looks back once a decision is made, but to go on as if there was never a doubt that I made the right move.
In Elijah and the Israelites situation, they remained indecisive until Elijah was the one who called down fire from heaven to burn his sacrifice while the prophets of Baal cried out all day long to their pretend god and received nothing in response. Finally, they made up their minds that the Lord is God and killed these prophets of Baal to turn to the Lord fully, at least for a time.
Indecision keeps us in the place of inaction. Since we can’t decide the best or right thing to do, we do nothing. Time passes, often as we sit thinking, trying to figure out the right move until at least one of the opportunities has slipped by us and far too often both opportunities slide by and we are left with no need for a decision since the opportunities are now gone.
What are some ways we can make a decision and move on in life? First, consider the options and make certain we are actually seeing what options are available. Second, compare the options by listing the positives and negatives of each choice. If we can see that one of the decisions will end up leading us away from God or away from my family that leans on me, then make the choice away from that move. Third, spend some time praying to God to open your eyes to see what is best for you at this time. Fourth, ask for the advise of people you trust, who love you and care about your future. Listen carefully to their advise, but don’t let someone else make your decision. If you do you will usually find a way to be angry at them when the decision turns out to have some real negative things about it. When you have all the information in front of you and have evaluated the choices, MAKE A DECISION and don’t look back. Instead pour your whole being into making that the very best decision you can possibly make. I had rather make a decision that isn’t the very best than to spend my life sitting between decisions and doing nothing worthwhile.