By David Cochran


Life would be much easier if we always knew what to do in difficult situations. But life’s pathways are sometimes more like traveling through a dense rainforest where we aren’t sure where we’re going.  This lack of clear understanding can be very frustrating.  Should I do this or that?  What should I say in this situation?  How can I help her solve her problem?

We are frequently in situations that call us to make clear judgments. We analyze situations, synthesize our thoughts, evaluate our options, and sometimes act on our hunches.  Sometimes this process is very difficult.  Some even opt out of the process denying the problem or masking it with insignificant activity or drugs and alcohol.

For Christians, there is another process available–discernment.  This is the seeking of solutions to life’s uncertainties through spiritual direction and understanding.  It’s realizing that we don’t have to make decisions alone.  Instead, we can ask God for help.  We can look to the New Testament for the wisdom shared by Jesus.  We can pray, meditate, and even get some exercise as we let our subconscious mind mull over our options.  We can also use our God-given thought powers to gather information that will help us solve our problem.  It’s amazing how many times when we engage in discernment that an answer to our dilemma will seem to come from nowhere when we least expect it.

We don’t need to discern common events like getting to work on time or shopping for groceries.  Discernment is best used for the meaningful decisions in life, those decisions that require clear thought and judgment.  When we begin to be unsure of what to do, that’s a good time to step back and ask God for help.  The good news is that God delivers.