“Jake, I’ve been praying about this a lot, but I don’t know what to do. I think it’d be so much fun and I’ll never forget it.”

“Well, what’s the problem? Why aren’t you already gone?”

“Because, it’s so hard! I’ve been praying about this trip and I felt like God said to ‘go’ last week, but I  haven’t felt that way for two days now.”

“You should cast lots.”

“Seriously, dude? You don’t get it. I’m afraid I’m going to mess something up by going. Maybe I should fast.”

“Yes. Stop eating. Why does it sound like God changed His mind? You didn’t lie to Him to get your way again, did you?”

At that point in the conversation, my buddy punched me right in the middle of my chest. There was more shove to it than punch, so even though it didn’t necessarily hurt, the impact almost sent me sprawling to the ground. I knew I was pushing his buttons and I was having fun with it. I love when my friends take their lives seriously, but at the same time I hate when we make God difficult. Our inability to make a decision can make Yahweh look fickle, at least when played out in front of the rest of the world.

“Why don’t you do what makes you happy? I think six months in Brazil sounds incredible, and you’ll be serving the entire time, right?”

He looked at me as though I had stuck another nerve. “What if God doesn’t want me to do it? I don’t want to screw my future up.”

“You think pretty highly of yourself, don’t you?”

“What do you mean?”

“Do you really think you can screw your life up while trying to serve God?”

“I’ve heard of it before. Think about the whole business man being a pastor scenario.”

“Have you ever met anyone like that? And do you believe they woke up in hell? Also, do you think that business men and pastors are so alike that they frequently trade jobs on accident? Can you say, ‘urban legend?'”

I goaded for another hour and enjoyed every minute of it. Three months later, he hopped on a plane went on a mission. He’s teaching English and volunteering at a church in Brazil. He seems to be enjoying himself and has yet to fall away from the Lord. The true test will be whether or not he’s prosperous when he comes home because apparently, God only blesses those who don’t mess their lives up by doing the things that bring them joy (and prosperity is obviously the only expression of blessing, too).

★                    ★                      ★

Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do.  Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil.  Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun—all your meaningless days.

-Ecclesiastes 9:7-9

The word ‘approved’ in verse 7 is Ratsah in Hebrew. It means to be pleased or satisfied with, determined or favorable toward something. I don’t want to say that we can do no wrong, but I think it might be more difficult than we think when we’re in love with Jesus.  If you’re trying to make a big decision, stop torturing yourself by superimposing your emotions or another person’s attitude over God’s will. As long as you don’t want something terrible and you’re not breaking the law, you’re probably alright.