Last year I attended our Ministry Network Pastors’ Conference, and one of the guest speakers was pastor and author Jeff Lucas. During the conference Jeff made a profound statement I’ve been wrestling ever since. Here is his quote, “The second-choice life, is when life does not turn out the way you thought it would.” I tend to ponder over things by nature, and this got me thinking how sometimes our first-choice ends up being our second-choice, and our second-choice sometimes ends up being our first-choice.
Two years ago, after much prayer, my wife made the choice to give one of her kidneys to her sister. Walking with her through this decision helped me realize how giving away one of your vital organs is truly an act of love and kindness. This is first-choice living! What came next, we did not expect. One year later my wife received the difficult news that her one remaining kidney was not functioning properly. This caused me to say, “I didn’t think it would turn out this way. Why would this happen to a person who just performed such a heroic act of kindness?” This was not only second-choice, but our last choice.
Have you ever been there? Thinking to yourself, I did not expect it to turn out this way?
Yet I’ve also discovered sometimes our second-choice becomes our first-choice. When Barbara and I first got married, we like most young couples, had our whole life mapped out. We would wait three years and then start our family. What we did not expect was to struggle with infertility for the next 10 years. This was a decade of doubt, loneliness and hopelessness. This was the second-choice life. Then God turned our second-choice into our first-choice when he gave us our son through the gift of adoption. We did not expect it to turn out this way, but we won’t trade him for anything. Our second-choice became our first-choice.
Job understood second-choice living. I’m sure there were plenty of times when he thought, I didn’t think it would turn out this way. It was Job who said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will return there. The LORD gives, and the LORD takes away. May the name of the LORD be blessed!” (Job. 1:21 NET)
Job’s response is always the proper way to respond to the second-choice life, as well as the first-choice. In all things might we always say: May the name of the LORD be blessed.
No matter first-choice or second-choice, we must always trust it’s God’s Choice.