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Dealing with challenges and choices

By Allen Teal, chaplain at Rolla Presbyterian Manor

Editor’s Note: The following devotion comes from Allen Teal, who is retiring as chaplain at our sister community Rolla Presbyterian Manor this summer.

But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” (Acts 5:39, NIV)

A battleship cruised along on a dark, foggy night. In the distance, the lights of a second ship pierced the gloom. As the moments passed, it became evident that the two ships were on a collision course. The battleship captain had a message flashed to the other ship to turn out of his path. Immediately, a reply returned instructing the battleship should be the one to turn. Believing that his vessel held a higher rank, the captain had the message repeated and added that he was a battleship. Once again, the message flashed back instructing the battleship to turn. This message also carried an extra tag telling the captain that the light in the distance was a lighthouse.


We all face obstacles that seem too large to overcome. Sometimes, it may feel like fighting against God himself. Like the lighthouse in the opening paragraph, it may be God’s attempt to get us to change our course. In the role of the battleship captain, humans lack the capacity to see through the fog. Tomorrow is a mystery to us, but not to God. At these times, we must lean on the arms of God. Trust that if he led you to the trial, he will also lead you through the trial.


Not all choices fall into the category of good and bad. You may have two positive options. Unfortunately, it can also feel like you face multiple bad options. Occasionally, God presents you with such choices to allow you to exercise your free will. Be aware that even two similar paths may lead to diverse outcomes. You must determine the direction that will leave you closest to your ultimate goals—personally, financially and relationally. God will give you guidance if you listen for his voice in your heart.

An old hymn reminds us:

I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that Thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end.
—M. R. Stead (1850-1917)

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