Pros and Cons Lists vs. Discernment

Ethan and I have been in serious prayer about where we will spend the next two years (and potentially longer) of our lives.  We have been accepted to the Samaritan's Purse Post-Residency Program, and have found the leadership to be wonderful, God-honoring people. They have presented us with several mission hospitals where we might serve, and asked us to prayerfully decide where God is leading us.

Honestly, this is the most difficult choice either of us has ever made.  Looking back, following Christ and getting married were enormous decisions -- but the right choice seemed exceedingly obvious.  Here, we find ourselves immersed in subtleties and possibilities, without an obviously "correct" path.

So we have sought counsel -- from God, of course.  From our parents.  From our brothers and sisters in Christ.  It has been refreshing to lean on the advice of people who love and serve the Lord.

Yesterday, I emailed several close friends asking for prayer.  One responded with extreme wisdom the same day.  Two others contacted me today to tell of dreams that the Lord gave them (last night) about God's hand on our future (incredibly, one of these dear sisters had not even received my email request for prayer).

We serve a good God.  He does not leave His people without guidance. This morning, two seemingly unrelated Scripture fragments tumbled around in my head: "My thoughts are not your thoughts" and, "but we have the mind of Christ".  Yet in context, these verses are obviously intertwined.

" 'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the LORD." (Isaiah 55:8)

"The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for, 'Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?' But we have the mind of Christ." (I Corinthians 2:15-16)

In juxtaposition, these passages point out that what I may perceive as a change in plans could (in fact) be the plan God had all along.  We do not need to rely on a pros and cons list (as I did to choose where I went to college), or a "gut feeling" to make life-changing decisions.  The Holy Spirit is at work in our lives, whispering guidance through Scripture, prayer, and advice from other believers.

I want to get used to Him changing my plans.  In every way, my life looks different now than I would have predicted five years ago.  And in every way, it is infinitely better than I could have planned.  His ways are not my ways, but I want them to become my ways.   His thoughts are not my thoughts, but He has consistently and patiently changed my mind more times than I can recall.

In this place of indecision, I find myself grateful for a God who continues to lead His people.  Even and especially in directions we could not have previously imagined.


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