I was listening to a podcast today on intentional questions to avoid small talk. Given that I hate small talk with a passion, I was quite intrigued. One of those questions was, “If you were to meet your younger self, what would make them happy about your life, and what would make them sad?” I asked myself that question, and from an earthly perspective, there wasn’t a whole lot that would make my younger self happy. My life looks nothing like I had dreamed it would. Yet as I thought about it, I realized that there is a lot that I have now that is better than I would have, if I had gotten what I wanted.
What about you? How would you answer that question?
Do you ever wonder what the Lord is doing? Does it ever seem as if you have been overlooked, and life is not going according to your plan? What do you do about it?
I work as a nanny, and so I am very familiar with what happens when a child does not get his way. This past week, I wouldn’t let my nanny kid have a treat because he had just had dental work done, and it would be too hard to chew. That resulted in a major meltdown, with him sobbing behind the couch, me at my wits end, and finally him going to his room and pulling his clothes out of his closet and dumping them, complete with all his books, onto his floor.
I see a lot of myself in the kids I look after, and it isn’t pretty. When I don’t get what I want in my timing, there is a part of me that wants to thrash and kick and scream in frustration. I want what I want right now, and there is a real bait to get bitter towards God for denying me. I am tempted to believe that He does not love me. Yet is it loving to give a child everything they want, all the time? A spoilt child is not fun to be around, trust me. Even as adults, if we were given everything we want, we would be miserable, because there would be nothing to hope for. Our characters would be tainted by the absence of trials that are there to shape and mold them into more pleasing shapes.
Christian, God’s purpose for you is not that you be happy. It’s not that you achieve your goals. It’s not that you have great health, and endless wealth. It’s not that you have the perfect family of your dreams, or the best job, or supportive friends, or even the perfect church. I hate to break it to you, but those things don’t exist. And I know that we all probably realize that, but then why do we live as if we don’t?
You see, God’s purpose for you is that you be holy, and that you bring Him glory. There may be other specific things that He has planned for you, and it may even include some of the things in the list above, but those things are blessings, not rights.
Psalm 138:8 says,
The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me,
your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
Isn’t it comforting to know that the one whose character and love is eternal will not fail to fulfill His purpose for us? His purpose, not ours. It may be a painful process, but He will do it, because He loves us too much to leave us to our own devices. And we will find the most freedom and joy in surrendering to His will for our lives, not our own.