IN 2007, after some months of house hunting, I bought a house after seeing it once – before my husband had even viewed it (although he said I could go ahead), in an area we knew nothing about, where we knew no one and at the other end of the city from where we had been renting.
I look back now and I think about how profoundly that decision has influenced my family’s lives. It determined where the children went to school, the friends and acquaintances we made, the volunteering we have done and even where I work.
And it influenced my extended family too because it determined where my parents settled when they immigrated, where my brother and his wife moved to from over East and, in turn the people they are involved with and the schools my nieces go to.
So many knock on effects from one decision.
I feel a bit frightened when I think how the destiny of so many people was influenced by me signing that one document.
In the Bible there are also stories of how one woman’s decision had unforeseen long-term repercussions for her family.
Think of Eve choosing to eat the forbidden fruit, which resulted in her and Adam being banished from Eden, and curses that have affected all of humanity and led to the murder of her son by his brother.
Think of Moses’ mother, Jochebed, deciding to put her little boy in a basket in the river, as a result of which he was found by Pharaoh’s daughter, brought up as a prince and went on to lead the Israelites out of Egypt.
Think of Ruth choosing to leave her nation and go with Naomi back to Israel, as a result of which she met Boaz, remarried and became the great-grandmother of King David.
Think of Bathsheba whose decision to bath on the roof that day led to the death of her husband and baby, her marriage to David and the birth of Solomon, who became the richest most successful king of Israel.
Lot’s wife chose to look back, Sarah gave her maidservant to Abraham, Rebekah chose to trick Isaac, Delilah betrayed Samson, Esther chose to speak to the king – each of these women’s decisions had far-reaching consequences for whole nations.
It is scary to think about the potentially life-changing decisions we make every day. We remember very little of the past and know absolutely nothing about the future, but we are called upon to shape that future every day by our choices.
Which is why, when I was driving for an hour to an appointment with an estate agent in 2007, I prayed all the way. I knew that God could foresee all the knock-on effects of buying a house, I knew He knew the best place for us to live and I knew I could trust Him to guide me. When I walked into our place I just knew this was home.
Let me encourage you that although we see just the sliver of time that is the present and maybe have a dim memory of the past, for God the past, present and future is all laid out like one big canvas. The Bible says He knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10) and has seen each day we will live before it happens (Psalm 139:16).
If you are overwhelmed by choices, or the potential consequences of your decisions, pray and ask the One who is able to give us wisdom for every decision, has knowledge of all things and is even able to mitigate the effects of our worst mistakes.
“‘For I know what I have planned for you,’ says the Lord. ‘I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope.'” (Jeremiah 29:11)•