If Only

Sunday, August 21, 2022
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Listen while you read: "Come Let Us All Unite And Sing"1 (Lyrics)

James 1:5 – If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask him, and he will gladly tell you, for he is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask him; he will not resent it. (TLB)

No one has penned the "if only" conundrum more appropriately than poet Robert Frost in the selection, "The Road Not Taken":

    Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
    And sorry I could not travel both
    And be one traveler, long I stood
    And looked down one as far as I could
    To where it bent in the undergrowth;

    Then took the other, as just as fair,
    And having perhaps the better claim,
    Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
    Though as for that the passing there
    Had worn them really about the same.

If we are not careful, the "if onlys" can consume us. They seemed to do that with Frost as he described two paths, only one of which he could take. He wished that he could have taken both — or could at least have gone back to travel the other that he hadn't taken the first time around — but he couldn't.

Life is filled with choices. According to James, God is more than willing to give us wisdom to make those choices — if only we'll ask.

Not all choices are between good and evil — or even between better and best. Frost said that both roads looked equally good. He simply couldn't travel both. I've experienced the same. Choosing between right and wrong is easier; choosing between two equally good choices is challenging. Seeking God's wisdom through prayer, the study of His Word, and advice from wise spiritual counsellors is crucial if we're to avoid the "if onlys" later down the road of life.

Some roads are labelled "Right" and "Wrong" in bold letters, but that doesn't necessarily make the choice any easier. Our arch enemy loves to take us down roads that he knows will destroy us spiritually and then watch us wallow in regret, shame, and depression. Not only does God provide the wisdom to make the right choice in these circumstances, but He also gives us the strength to say "No" and take the other path.

Whatever choice that we are faced with in life, God will give us the wisdom to make it, if only we will take time to ask.

Prayer: Father, give us wisdom for the choices that we must make in life. May our choices reflect our love for and faith in You. Amen.

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About the author:

Martin Wiles <mandmwiles@gmail.com>
Greenwood, South Carolina, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Good one Martin!

    Amen and amen, Martin! God be the glory! Blessings.

    Thanks Martin, for this devotional to start the day. Blessings.

    Thank you, Martin, for this encouragement to make the right choice.

    Beautifully framed Martin as I sit meditation to prepare for worship. Your message has refreshed my Spirit. Blessings.

    Always enjoy and reflect on your writing. Have just read the “These Days” also. I look forward to reflecting on many more, thank you for them.

    Thank you. A favourite poem and author of mine! Sometimes the “what ifs” are hard to deal with if the chosen road is tough. What looked good at first doesn’t always remain that way, does it? Enjoy sabbath.

    Many thanks Martin for another of your very special and encouraging devotionals. Choosing the right road can be very daunting at times but choosing to follow the Christian path laid out by our loving Lord is truly the best and safest one. You always deliver a very notable devotional. Blessings as you continue writing.

    Thank you for your thoughts on this topic. The Living Bible version of James 1:5 opens up asking God about anything that is on your mind, not just if you need some wisdom from God. For me, that makes a difference. I am not exactly sure why, and I will have to think on that a little more.
    I liked your description about the different choices we come across and that we are always making a choice.
    May you continue to share with others and you do faithfully. Blessings.

    Thanks a lot, Martin! “If Only!”
    My husband and I ministered as a 100% team for the Lord. We ask the Lord to show us which way to go. Did we make the right decision taking a call? It didn’t take long for us to know it was a big mistake, or was it? We finally LET GO AND LET GOD!!! That’s a great old saying that we let the Lord lead into the unknown! We never gave up as a team and became a greater.
    One example was when he suggested to associate that their 2 wives could help another family with their situation. We managed to get in the house and help with the children and some cleaning. Then we sat and did all we could to bring the wife out of this dreadful depression, including prayer. So this takes us back to “If Only” and had we never made the decision to go there.
    God bless you richly!!!
    (Ca., USA)

    Hello Martin. I am at a fork in the road.
    I needed your message today. Thank you.

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