As a kid, I loved the “Choose Your Own Adventure” series of novels. As the story progressed, you’d make decisions for the characters that affected the outcome. In the daily adventure of life, we have an even more important choice: choosing our attitude toward the events around us.

In the Gospel of St. John, right before being betrayed, Jesus tells his disciples, “Let not your hearts be troubled.” This comes shortly after telling them they’d always have the poor among them, would be persecuted for him, and the like. Sounds like trouble, right?

“Let not your hearts be troubled,” He could tell them, because He gave them something better to focus on. Just after saying that, of course, Jesus goes on to say he’s going to prepare a place for them in heaven – that God the Father loves them, and that He is with them.

In other words, they could choose to be depressed by the goings on of the sinful and fallen world around them – or focus on the reality of the world ahead. They could choose to be troubled, or choose to be joyful about their calling.

This wasn’t just a choice for those disciples, but for each of us. There is a lot we cannot control. There is a lot of trouble around us. But we choose our perspective. We choose our reaction.

In the Book of Joshua, two simple phrases are repeated: “Choose for yourself this day whom you will serve” and “be strong and courageous.”

Will we focus on the ills, or will we look for solutions? Will we dwell on our present troubles, or press on joyfully to a glorious reward?

Today, and every day in our glorious adventure through life and liberty, we get to choose if we will be strong and courageous.  We get to choose if we will serve the God of Creation.

So choose to let your heart not be troubled—be strong and courageous in the service of a mighty God who loves us.