If faith requires an active choosing of our path through this world, well, then, let us make a choice. But the decision-making process of faith is quite different from the kind of decision-making process that we are used to.
Most of us, if you ask us to choose something, will sit down and make a list of pros and cons. We'll start separating the data on how this situation might play out, and we'll try to include as many factors as we know for sure. We start playing different scenarios in our heads based on what we know, on what we can observe about how whatever this thing is actually works. This becomes an "if...then..." process.
If we make this choice, then this will happen. But if we make this choice, then this will happen. And so on and so on until it seems clear to us what it is that we want to happen and what series of choices we must make in order to make that thing happen. Provided, of course, that we have considered everything that is in front of us.
The difficulty comes when we recognize that faith introduces to us a whole host of things that we know, but cannot see. It introduces a whole list of variables that we wouldn't consider if we were only looking at what is right before our eyes. This turns our if...then... into an if...then...but....
If we do this, then this will likely happen, but God....
Because we know that God does things that we can't even imagine. Most of us have lived those kinds of moments. We have seen those things happen in our own lives. And that means that when we try to move forward in faith and make faith-based decisions, then our very faith itself has to become part of the decision-making process.
Yes, it might be true that if we do this, then this will happen, but let us not forget that Jesus walked out of a grave, for crying out loud. That God has been working miracles from the very beginning. That God alone decides what is good, and if there is something that God wants for your life, He's going to make it happen.
It's this "but..." that makes making decisions in faith so difficult. It really is. I can look at a situation and calculate all of the variables and figure out statistically what is likely to happen and what the best path forward is, but there is always this constant nagging voice in the back of my mind, this constant tugging on my heart, that reminds me that the one thing I can never calculate, the one thing I can never fully account for, is God's mysterious and wonderful will. It's His grace. It's His mercy. It's His divine intervention.
I can know that it's possible. I can even know that it's probable. I can know for sure that it's likely that God will step in and do something. But often, I cannot know what that thing might be. And in the process of decision-making, I can often foresee a circumstance on any side of my choices, in any direction that I might choose to go, where God might step in and bless that...or totally change it.
And so, I must always be ready for what is and for what will be...and also be ready for what is and what will be to transform toward even more goodness than I could have asked or imagined (for we know that God's will is always good).
I tell you - it's hard. It's hard enough to make faithful decisions based on what I can see of this world; it's even harder to make decisions based on the faith of what I cannot see. But I have to. We have to. We have to remember God in our decision-making process and realize and respect the limitations of our own finite understanding.
It's not if...then....
It's if...then...but God....