Ever think about past choices? I admit that too often I do. What would have it been like had I made a different choice? I should have. . . I could have. . . But I didn’t.
But what if I had, for instance, continued on with the U.S. Forest Service. I was a Forest Electronics Technician on the Lassan National Forest. The main office was located in Susanville, California. It was an interesting place, to say the least. I’d been there only once, passing through, before I accepted that position. I remember very well, as I passed through I said “I sure would never go to this forest.” Well, G-d does have a sense of humor, (Never say Never) and led me there anyway. I met some wonderful people, worked with a terrific bunch of guys, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Yet I missed the ocean, which I’d nearly always lived near. But after a few more years perhaps I’d have been selected for a Forest Electronics Engineer position on the Six Rivers National Forest in Eureka, California. That would have been so perfect. I did, in fact, live near there a few years later, after leaving the Forest Service. I attended Humboldt State University, in Arcata, a few miles north of Eureka. The whole area is gorgeous. Its where the redwood forest meets the Pacific Ocean. The average temperature is about 70 degrees (21 celcius), with highs and lows within ten degrees. It had its down sides, for some people: The bright California sun almost never shone; it was cloud cover most of the time. Coastal after all. Some people found it unbearable and fled after less than a year living there. But I loved it.
When I’m really tired of the traffic around the area in which I now reside, I think of Arcata. I can see the redwoods and smell the ocean. I remember various choices I’ve made, looking at them as if they might not have been such good choices. Thinking about past choices as wrong ones comes doesn’t come just from frustration with the place I am suppose to call home at the moment. Such times come upon me when I feel poorly about what I’m currently doing, what I’m not doing, or times when I just don’t feel good about myself.
Others have experience trying times and must have known it was their choices that led them. Paul, for instance. Things weren’t going too well in Rome for the Apostle Paul. In what we know as the fourth chapter of Paul’s second letter to Timothy (2 Timothy), Paul says he’d been left during his defense, and requests Timothy to come to him, bringing along Mark, and some things he’d left behind, like a cloak. He was writing from prison, which must have been cold. So Paul is alone in prison. But remember, Paul wanted to come to Rome. He’d said as much as he journeyed toward Jerusalem. He’d even been warned of problems in Jerusalem, and kept right on going up to Jerusalem, into danger. And in the following passage, we see just how Paul got to Rome:
And Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.
We don’t read of Paul whining about being in prison. We don’t hear that he mourned the days he roamed around Asia freely preaching the Gospel to the Gentiles. No. Paul went to Rome to testify the The Faith before the Emperor, and to all Rome. Along the way he preached to everyone from prisoners to government officials, soldiers, and even the king. He preached to the inhabitants of a small island upon which he was ship wrecked. He preached to the Roman Believers.
Paul knew his life was not his, but his was to live as Messiah, to do the will of Messiah, free or in chains.
When I come to my senses and stop whining and feeling sorry for myself, I can appreciate that which the Lord has allowed me to do on the way to where I now reside, not in spite of bad choices, but because the choices, as difficult as they were, were the right choice to have made. And these times lead to other times ahead.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Lord Bless, Keep, Shine. . .