Thursday, March 23, 2023

Changing the Future with a Deep Breath

Suggested Reading: Daniel 6:1-16 (or read the whole story here)

If you aren't familiar with Doctor Who, you aren't aware that the British television series features an alien called The Doctor, who travels through space and time solving problems and saving people from monsters. Often in the show, some nefarious alien species has altered time for their own benefit and the Doctor has to restore the timeline to save everyone. Every now and then, though, he encounters a fixed point in time, something that cannot be changed no matter how hard you try or how much time travel you do. Occasionally, even in the time travel realm of science fiction, some decisions can never be changed. They are permanent. Final.

In Daniel 6, Daniel found himself in a land where the king's law could never be changed. According to the laws of the Medes and Persians, any law the king made was a permanent law, without exceptions and without equivocation. So when some of Daniel's co-workers wanted to get rid of Daniel out of jealousy, they convinced the king to sign a law making it illegal to pray to anyone but the king for 30 days. Then they set the penalty for praying as being thrown into a den of lions. Once it was signed, they went and caught Daniel praying to God as they had predicted he would, and then ran to the king. The king hadn't considered this possibility and looked for a way to save Daniel from the law he had foolishly signed. But in the evening the men went together to the king and said, “Your Majesty, you know that according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, no law that the king signs can be changed.” So at last the king gave orders for Daniel to be arrested and thrown into the den of lions. The king said to him, “May your God, whom you serve so faithfully, rescue you" (Daniel 6:15-16, NLT).

The king had made a permanent decision without thinking through the consequences. I guess that makes him just like us sometimes. We burn bridges without thinking about whether or not we will need them in the future. We cross lines of innocence and purity that can never be uncrossed. We make decisions about relationships based on surface level emotions. We make life-altering decisions that can never be undone just because it feels like the right thing to do in a single moment or because someone flatters us and our good judgment goes flying out the window.

Sometimes, we face decisions that don't have significant consequences. But frequently we make decisions that will have a lasting impact we have no way of foreseeing. When we face decisions, we must take a step back and think through the consequences. Maybe you can live with that decision now. But will you be able to live with that decision when you can't reverse it? Will you still be comfortable with that decision ten years down the road? Or sixty?

Before you make a life-long decision, take a deep breath and work through the possible consequences. That deep breath might be the only thing that stands between you and a lifetime of regret.

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