We all reach points in our lives where we ask ourselves - do I stay or do I go?
Perhaps you are at that point today.
Listen to this story:
"As the persecution of Jews increased during World War II, Austrian psychologist Victor Frankl had the opportunity to go to America and avoid the imminent threat of suffering. His parents were thrilled for him, but he struggled with the question: Should I leave my parents behind in Gestapo-controlled Austria? He asked God to give him a hint from heaven.
One day Victor's father, who knew nothing of his son's inner turmoil, brought him a piece of marble taken from a bombed out synagogue. It contained a small bit of writing that Victor recognized as being from the fourth commandment: Honor your father and mother.
This was the hint he had been looking for; Frankl decided to stayed. The decision was not without a price; he and his family were arrested and imprisoned. His parents died in concentration camps, and he himself spent years in Auschwitz. But he survived, and as a result he was able to provide strength and encouragement to millions through his writings—most notably his book "Man's Search for Meaning."
During this time a German theologian named Dietrich Bonhoeffer had the opportunity to take a teaching post in America. He, too, struggled with the decision. Ultimately he declined the offer, choosing to stay in Germany because he felt an obligation to be with his own countrymen during the time of national crisis. Bonhoeffer was eventually arrested and sent to a concentration camp, where he died shortly before the war ended.
Both men had the opportunity to leave; both made the decision to stay—and both paid a price for their choice."
Powerful stories of courage and perseverance.
Sometimes our best decision is to stay. Greener pastures may be calling us elsewhere, but our true calling is right where we are. Staying doesn't often result in glory and honor.
In fact, it's more likely to result in suffering and hardship. And, yet, it is in choosing to stay that we most often do the most good.
The Apostle Paul wrote...
Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Hebrews 12:1)
The race marked out for us.
As I said at the beginning, many of us struggle with the question: How do I know whether it's time to stay or time to go? How do I know if this is the race "marked out" for me?
The answer to that question can often be found in the answer to another: Are you running to avoid pain, or running to gain the prize?
If your reason for wanting to go is simply to avoid something unpleasant, that might be a hint that God is calling you to stay. In the race marked out for you, there will be times when you must take a bold step of faith into the unknown. And there will be times when you must take an even bolder step of faith into the known. And stay....in defiance of the call to comfort...in the face of certain struggle.
Are you struggling with a stay-or-go decision? Ask yourself: which takes me closer to the prize?
If you need a hint from heaven, God will provide one; just be ready to take an obedient next step in the race marked out for you.