You always have a choice!
I often hear this little phrase yelled at a character in a movie when they say something like “I didn’t have a choice,” after they did something particularly bad.
You always have a choice.
That is currently the motto that is yelled often, in politics, you have a choice to vote and choose who will president, though on the same hand what choice is there?
Choice is the dominating phrase in any abortion conversation, the right to choose, but the little one in the womb does not have a right to choose in that conversation.
Sometimes it simply feels like no matter what you choose, you’re ____ if you do and if you don’t. Those kind of no-win situations where someone afterwards yells at you that you always have a choice, but they didn’t have to live through what you lived through.
Do we have a choice or is it simply an illusion and we are actually bound by ropes of destiny wrapped around us by some mysterious force out there or do we have a choice in the outcome of this life, there is one certainty at the end, not two choices.
Maybe it’s true, maybe we don’t have a choice in all things. There are some things that are nonnegotiable and not open to change. Like breathing.
When I was a miniature version of the stubborn man I am now, I was convinced that I had choice when it came to breathing, especially I could assert that choice when I wanted a toy and my mom wouldn’t buy it for me. There was little old me, holding my breath as hard as I could and my mom standing there looking completely non-plussed. Sometimes it doesn’t pay to have a nurse for a mom! Her logic as she shared with little me was that your body will breath whether you choose it or not, your body will simply make you pass out so you can from oxygen deprivation.
You don’t always have a choice. I cannot choose to fly outside of an airplane, I cannot choose to be that little stubborn child again, I cannot choose to be born, I cannot choose if I will die.
We don’t always have a choice. We didn’t have a choice when we were conceived to be brought in a world that is separated from the love of God. We didn’t have a choice that we were born sinful and separated from God. But we do choose to live out that separation from God in our own thoughts, words and actions, we live out the reality of our own brokenness and prove to ourselves that it is true. Our own hearts condemn us and tell us this isn’t a make-believe, but real-life, right here and now choices we are making. We live in a broken world that already does not have a choice about being apart from God eternally.
That’s the stinging reality we have to deal with. Conceived, born and die and die eternally apart from God in a world that will one day die as well and a universe that will end. That damning and definite lack of choice is like running up against a brick wall with your head and trying to break it down, you don’t have a choice if that will work or not, even if you keep choosing smash your head into it. This utter lack of choice in a world that ultimately by itself has no choice when confronted honestly has led many people to honest despair and hopelessness, how utterly lost we really are, no matter what choices we make in this life, whether to be what we think a good person would be or not…
there is no choice, we are lost apart from God.
It was 1986 in Midland Texas, then little girl Jessica Morales playing in her Aunt’s Backyard fell into a deep, dark well that was only 8 inches wide and 22 feet deep… Rescuers worked tirelessly for 58 hours to free hour and bring her out of the well. She even had a made tv movie, about her called Everybody’s Baby.
What would you do for someone like little Jessica Morales in that deep dark well with absolutely no choices she could make to save herself. What would you choose to do for her? Would you choose to save her?
What would God do for all of us, lost in the deep, dark well of sin and darkness, forever without a choice to save ourselves, so far gone done the hole we are. What would God do?
God choose you. You who had no choice, no options, no other future than being eternally separated living in our own sin. God choose you. God choose you by name and tirelessly has worked throughout all of the centuries so that you might be rescued. God choose all of us, when God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son so that we would not have to perish but have eternal life. God choose to save everyone and did what those workers did, God climbed into the deep, dark hole of our existence, went to the very worst of who we are at the cross and even died in the deep, dark hole so that one the third day God could rise from the hole and bring us with Him.
God choose you and brought you out of the hole.
Little Jessica Morales is all grown now, 30 years old and has children of her own to care for and thanks God for being rescued that day. “It reminds me that I was saved to have a purpose in life.” Right now, she lives that purpose by loving God and loving her family. Those rescuers brought out little Jessica who had no choice in that deep dark well so she could have a choice and live out that rescue in her own life.
God choose you and rescued you from that deep, dark well of sin so you could live in His light and have a choice in how you lived because of what God has done for you. You who didn’t have a choice, now you do have a choice. God has already rescued you, what will you do with that rescue?
In Jesus, it has been set before you. This is the choices that remain in the rescue and in the light of God’s love and these are the choices that take you back to the deep, dark hole apart from God. See, I have set before you today, life and good, death and evil.
What else is life and good but to be in love with your God and thank God for giving you a choice to love God back.
What else is it but to receive all of God’s good gifts that God has given to you now that He has pulled you out of the well: forgiveness, healing, purpose to live out your rescue in the choices you make.
What else is life and good but to worship God, immerse yourself in God’s Words and receive his body and blood at the table. What else is life and good but to bring your children and yourselves to where the promises of rescue are given in the waters of holy baptism.
What else is life and good but to love God and to love each other with grateful hearts for the gift of choice you’ve been given.
But don’t climb back in the deep, dark hole, as crazy as that sounds, in your thoughts, words and actions, in your heart and your choices, to climb down the hole to the place where you had no choices and no hope. That is not what God has called you to do, God has chosen you and rescued you to live out that rescue in your life. Now you have a choice, because of Jesus climbing down and bringing you out of the hole.
Held in Jesus arms in faith, it’s time to grow into your rescue. Just think of little Jessica, coming out of that hole, she didn’t simply know everything to do. It is something you grow into by being in God’s Word and receiving the Sacraments, by being with you brothers and sisters in Christ.
In faith in Jesus, you who didn’t have a choice, now have a choice. Choose what is good, choose life.