By Bob Bosh

To Choose Or Not To Choose, That Is The Question! (my apologies to William Shakespeare)

In September of 1988 I made a life altering choice, or did I? You might ask, “what is so special about September of 1988?”

This letter is not about a church or a religion, it is about life and choices. In 1986 I had started to receive literature and watch a television show from a church. This church was the first one I had ever heard answer my questions, about God, religion, and life in general. Really, every question I had there was a reasonable and rational explanation. I had all the usual questions. What really happens when you die? Is Jesus really relevant to my life? What is the purpose to it all. You who are reading this may have had or still have these questions.

By 1988 I had made a choice to contact this church and council with one of the ministers. The minister then told us many things my wife, family, and myself had to comply with to be accepted into the church. After some discussion we decided to choose to change our lives to comply with these requests. In exchange we chose to be baptized into, not this church, but into the BODY OF CHRIST. We really wanted to join this “body” so we agreed to their rules and proceeded.

I was baptized first. I was counseled by the minister for several sessions. After about the third session, he asked me the all important question? Do you willingly choose to turn from your sins (REPENT)? Good question! Am I willing to choose the Lord Jesus as my Savior and turn my life over to Him? There was no answer but yes. The minister explained to me that when I was baptized I would die to myself and emerge from the water a new creation. He told me I would have hands laid on me and I would receive a small spark of the Holy Spirit. I then could choose to nurture that spark and grow it into an all consuming fire. I could choose to let it lie dormant. I could choose to allow it to work in me slowly and transform me. I could allow it to totally die and resume the existence I had. The minister told me I might go down into the water and emerge totally and immediately transformed. I would be completely dead to myself and alive in the Lord. I looked at him, most likely puzzled, and said, “maybe I won’t”. Looking back on that day I chose to make a statement that I would wonder about for some time. Nevertheless In September of 1988 I was baptized.

It is easy after making such a choice and a commitment as I had made to settle in to life as a “church” member. As far as I could tell Jesus was not standing beside me and telling me what to do. It was easy to keep up the church’s requirements. We had church every Saturday. We showed up and listened to the sermon. We would fellowship with some of the congregants, and go home. I voraciously devoured all the church literature and watched the church’s programs on TV. I was on fire! I sought to tell all who would listen to all my new found knowledge, and many who would not! We were excited to be gaining all the teachings and obeying the Lord.
Unfortunately as time went on I chose to let it fade. Did I really choose to let it fade?
Many would say no I did not choose to let it fade. It just happens, as you cool from your initial first love. Sadly to be honest the answer is clear. I did choose. Nobody forced me to stop reading the Bible. Nobody stopped me from nurturing the Spirit. I CHOSE! About ten years went by. Time has a way of drifting. There is a line from a song I remember. The words are: “and then one day you find ten years have got behind you, no one told you where to run, you missed the starting gun”. It is true. Life happens. Things do not always go the way you want. It starts to press in. Maybe you have forgotten the Lord? Maybe you have not nourished the Holy Spirit, if He dwells within you? Then you start to pray. Just occasionally when you have reached the end of your solutions. You think, “ Oh yeah I can ask the Lord”. You throw out a prayer and it seems to fall on deaf ears. You do it again with the same result. Then you wonder if the devil is plaguing you. Maybe you start to get angry.

I had known Eric Wheeler from church. He was teaching a bible study that our children were attending. I started to get to know him after he had bought a hot tub. Since that was my area of expertise he asked me about a tub he wanted to buy. I told him it was a good tub. When he moved to a new house he asked me about hooking it up. I told him I could do it. All he needed to do was pay for the parts. I set up a day with him to hook up the tub. I was really feeling frustrated. I was praying and not hearing from the Lord. Eric and I were talking while I was working and I roared “Why can’t I hear from the Lord?!!” He told me for him it started like a radio station that was barely tuned in. You strain to hear it and as you listen it starts to come in stronger. I finished hooking up the tub and started to ponder what Eric had told me. I continued praying to hear from the Lord. It was not happening quickly. I got increasingly frustrated.

You may find you reach the point that I did. I was at work one day, about seven years ago, and finally reached the point where I was mad at the Lord. I was on repair calls and driving in Littleton. I was yelling at the Lord. I was yelling at God. I do not remember what precipitated it. It does not matter. I was fed up. I yelled at the Devil to leave me alone. I yelled at God leave me alone. “I am fed up with all of you”!! “LEAVE ME ALONE!” I pulled into a park and turned off the engine and yelled I do not want any part of you devil. I do not want any part of you God!! JUST LEAVE ME ALONE! He did. It is said you do not know what you have till it’s gone. Suddenly I felt the presence of the Lord recede from me. He left me completely. How do you describe being totally empty? Lost on a desert island with no one there. EMPTY, ALONE! I chose to ask the creator and God of the entire universe to leave me. He left me that way for about five minutes. It was like an eternity. I prayed. I apologized. He returned. I was again filled. I realized, we think we truly have a choice. I realized if I did not have God I had Satan. If you do not choose to allow God into you, you have chosen to allow the devil into you. I thanked Him with all my heart that even though He left me, He did not allow the devil to come in. The apostles were given a choice to leave Jesus after He told the multitudes they had to eat His flesh and drink His blood. They said then what I realized. I did not want the devil. I did not want to go back to life without God. I wanted the one who had life. I wanted the Lord!
I knew the choice I had made, to be brought into the Body of Christ our Lord, was the only rational one I could make.
Once again, I understood if you do not choose to follow the Lord, by default, you have chosen to follow the devil. I had fought the Lord to be my own entity apart from anybody. I knew then it is impossible.

A few weeks went by and it dawned on me I had chosen to serve the Lord. It came into my mind like a freight train. I had chosen to die to the flesh. I no longer had say over what I would do or how I would live. I had voluntarily chosen to be a servant to the Lord. Finally, after all the years since my baptism, I understood the full meaning of the watery grave I had gone into. I was fully aware the “old man” had died in that grave. I was now a bond servant to the Lord Jesus. Now I cried out to hear clearly, the Holy Spirit that had been placed in me. Now I intensely desired to hear Him. I prayed, ”Lord please let me hear you.” I thought I would hear but it was so faint. I struggled to hear but was not sure if it was me in my mind, or the Lord. I remembered the conversation I had had with Eric Wheeler. I did not get angry like I had then. When you have made the choice I had made, you realize you follow the Lord. You may not understand why He does not do something you ask, but you still follow.

It has been many years since my losing battle with the Lord. I have still struggled to hear from Him more clearly. I know, as Jesus said, He (God) always hears my prayers. I know He is working in my life. He is changing me from within. He is working in me to align my way of thinking with His. I have learned He does not always answer in a way I immediately realize. He has richly blessed us with the thing that matters most. A relationship with Him. To trust Him in all things. To choose to do His will. To freely choose to follow HIM!

Your brother in Christ.
Bob Bosh

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