When was the last time we had a difficult choice to make? Perhaps it was recently or maybe it has been some time since we have made a real difficult choice. Certainly, we have all faced this to at least one extreme or the other. Yet, it is by difficulties, which not only test our faith, but allows us to grow, usually for the better. However, what happens when our choices we make gets too hard?
Consider if you will, Elijah. Elijah was a great prophet of God. He served Him well. But, just shortly after a confrontation with the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18), he found himself running for his life. In fact, when his choice got too hard, we find him under a Juniper tree desiring to end his life (1 Kings 19:4). Now, at what point did Elijah feel this way? Was it when he was standing for what was right? Was it when he showed the Baal prophets who was the true and living God? No. It was when Jezebel, not wanting to be proven wrong, not willing to come to the truth, was hateful and desired to kill him. Now Elijah, although a great prophet, was not grievously troubled until he was confronted by his enemy.
When choices get too hard, why is it that we coward and hide instead of confronting the adversary? Since when do we fear man? Does not the Bible state, “fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). Yet, some will compromise for what is right to have a false sense of security. It amazes me how some men believe they have great power over others. Yet the truth is they only have as much power as we allow them to have. They have no strength. What strength do we have to stand against God? We will all be judged by His mighty hand by the lives that we live. The way we treat one another will not go unnoticed by God. He says, all things will be brought into judgment (2 Corinthians 5:10) and I believe that many forget this basic principle.
So again, what do we do when choices get too hard? Perhaps all we can do is follow the Master Teacher, Jesus. Jesus in many ways was like Elijah, stood for what was right, showed God’s mighty hand, yet when choices got too hard for Him, when around that tree in the garden, He did not beg for His life to end. Instead, He said, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). In just this short verse, we see Jesus saying when choices got too hard for Him, He focused on the will of the Father. What an amazing verse! Jesus emotionally desired to have the cross removed from Him. He knew it would be difficult and there was no easy way out. Yet, Jesus looked beyond the great burden, beyond the agony and kept on doing the Father’s will. “Not my will, but thine, be done.” Wouldn’t it be great if we all could be like Jesus?
We can be certain that there are many choices we will make in life and some are very hard choices. But, when choices get too hard, do we coward like the mighty Elijah or do we humble ourselves like our Lord, pressing on to the end? Was this not what Paul did when he walked in the footprints of the Lord? Did he not say, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13‐14)? Paul did not tuck tail and run when choices got too hard. He continued onward by making himself run swiftly in order to catch up with the prize. Can we not do the same?
We are all fully aware of the selfishness and hatred of men. But, when did it ever come to the point that we forgot to follow Christ when given a hard choice? When was it that we forgot to stand for the Truth? Or, did we stand for the Truth only to be let down by others? This should not stop us. We should not be like Elijah in this sense, but more like Christ who reminded Christians, “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Matthew 5:10‐12).
There will be many who give you hard choices, who will persecute you and say all sorts of things against you because you stood on the Rock of Ages, Jesus Christ. This is nothing new. Therefore, do not be like Elijah who sat under the Juniper tree. Be more like the mighty Elijah, who got up and remembered God and continued to follow Him until the day of his departure. If he can stand up when choices got too hard, if our great Lord could stand up when choices get too hard, we can certainly stand up when choices we face get too hard. May God give us all the wisdom to stand even when it is too hard to stand.