Yesterday we looked at seeing the whole picture when we need to make a decision. Given enough time and facts, everyone can make the right decision. However, there is another trap we can fall into and it’s usually known as “paralysis by analysis.” This is where we get so caught up in looking at a situation or decision, waiting to get more facts, thinking them through, that we never actually make a decision. Some folks are this way with respect to accepting Christ. They always need one more piece of evidence. They need one more clincher to believe. For those of us who have a relationship with Jesus, it may apply to other areas of our lives. For instance, we feel a strong calling to jump into a new ministry, but we’re trying to evaluate whether or not we have the skills, whether or not we’ll have the time, whether or not the ministry is viable, whether or not the ministry is showing results, etc. We can get so caught up in this type of analysis that we never make the jump into that ministry or any other ministry. And we can apply that to choosing a new home, looking for a new job, pursuing higher education, looking at how we need to change, and a whole host of other situations we all face. This is no good, either. While we’re not jumping into a bad situation, we’re not moving on to a better one that provides glory and honor to God. Sometimes we have to trust by faith and make the choice.
Now the LORD said to Abram,
“Go forth from your country,
And from your relatives
And from your father’s house,
To the land which I will show you;
And I will make you a great nation,
And I will bless you,
And make your name great;
And so you shall be a blessing;
And I will bless those who bless you,
And the one who curses you I will curse
And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
So Abram went forth as the LORD had spoken to him; and Lot went with him. Now Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.
Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his nephew, and all their possessions which they had accumulated, and the persons which they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan; thus they came to the land of Canaan.
– Genesis 12:1-5, NASB
Abram wasn’t given much to go on. He was told to go and that was it. Abram did exactly that: he left. He packed up everything and moved on, just as God had instructed. This was a tremendous leap of faith by Abram and by Sarai and Lot (who are often neglected in talking about the faith it took to go). We don’t know if Abram considered the whole picture. But if he did, he surely saw more unknowns than knowns in the plan. God wasn’t telling him where. God wasn’t telling him how. God wasn’t telling him how long. And God wasn’t telling him what he’d face, what difficulties he’d encounter, and what the cost would be. What he did have to go on is that he knew it was God telling him to go.
Looking at Abram, we can see a lot of cons with the choice he made. He was 75 years old. He had to pick up and move a wife who wasn’t young, either. He had a nephew to look after. And he had to pack up everything he owned and bring along all the people within his camp. That’s a ton of organization and planning and work to move out for a man of his age. But he responded because he knew it was God’s call.
God trumps everything. Even if we don’t have the whole picture, if He says do something, our decision should be to do it. It doesn’t matter how long we spend gathering facts and considering a decision, we’ll never have the vision and knowledge God already has. He can see the true complete picture, far beyond what we’re capable of doing. And therefore we can trust His direction far better than we can trust our own judgment. The catch is to make sure what we’re hearing is from God. We’ll look at that in upcoming devotionals. The key thing to remember is that once we’re sure it’s God setting a direction, we need to trust by faith and follow that direction, even if we can’t see everything we’d want to know. God knows what He’s doing far better than we do. We just have to trust Him.