Little notes from Rick Warren's "The Purpose-Driven Life":
"In order to keep us frrom being too attached to earth, God allows us to feel a significant amount of discontent and dissatisfaction with life - longings that will never be fulfilled on this side of eternity."
"When you fully comprehend that there is more to life than just here and now, you realise that life is just a preparation for eternity, you will begin to live differently. You will start living in the light of eternity, and that will colour how you handle every relationship, task, situation etc. Suddenly, many activities, goals, and even problems that seemed so important will appear trivial and unworthy of your attention. The closer you live to God, the smaller everything else appears.."
There are certain things in life we constantly pray not to experience. Topmost on that list is pain. Nobody wants to have pain in their life. But try as we may, pray as we may, it is inevitable. It shows up at some point or the other, when we least expect it. Pain comes in different shades. We cry when we feel pain, we pray for it to go away. Pain isn't a pleasant thing.
But I don't think so. I think pain is a gift. I'm almost tempted to call it a good thing even. When we are sick, the first pointer is the pain we feel. This pain propels us to go for a test and/or take medication. Imagine what will happen if you lose the ability to feel pain. It just means you never know when you are healthy and when you arent. And if you cant feel pain, you wont know when to take steps to help you get better.
Yesterday, I watched a story of some man on Reality TV. He went to war in Vietnam and lost both legs in the process. That's an incredibly terrible thing - losing one's legs. He went through a "God-why-me" phase. He was a big believer in "ëverything happens for a reason" and so he desperately sought to find out what reason God could possibly have to take away his legs. He just couldn't rationalize it, there were no logical answers.
God's ways are not our ways. Sometimes, we try to stereotype God, trying to make Him fit into our own line of reasoning. Huge mistake. His ways aren't our ways. God has a reason for everything that happens. Sometimes, He lets us see it right away. Sometimes, He lets us wait a while and shows it to us long after we have forgotten. And other times, we don't even get to find out at all. He knows EVERYTHING.
Jeremiah 1:5 - "Ï knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb. Before you were born, I set you apart as my prophet to the nations"
Before we were even formed, He knew us. He knew the egg and the sperm that would bring us forth. Isn't that just mind-blowing? If He knows that, what makes us think He doesn't have a reason for allowing certain things happen to us. He knows.
The 2nd part says He has set us apart as prophets to the nations. Some people will say, "Well, that one is not my calling". Wrong. We are all purposed to be God's prophets. You dont have to own a church and shout with a microphone or megaphone to be qualified as a prophet. We all have a responsibility to let the world know about Jesus. Others can see Jesus through us if we let it. I don dey digress....
Back to my story...
The man without the legs sought to find out why God allowed him go through all that pain. Some time had passed, and he had probably even given up hope in getting answers from God. He was going through a newspaper when he saw a story of two Russian twins who had been abandoned after birth by their mother because they were born without legs. And he knew immediately. He knew that was the reason he lost his legs - so he could give life to those children.
He proceeded to adopt them as his children, got them prosthetic legs, and just generally provided them with a life they never would have had if he had left them in Russia. As at the time of the documentary, the kids were already about 9yrs old. I watched them ride a bike, swim, and do every other thing normal children could do and I just had tears in my eyes. They see Jesus through the eyes of the man who saved their life. Through the love and warmth gotten from their adopted family, they experience God's love.
If this man hadn't lost his legs in the war, chances of him even noticing the story of the legless children would have been next to none.
I have a friend who lost his mum a few years ago. He shocked me when he told me that God had a reason for letting his mum go. He was deeply affected and pained by the loss, of course. But after a while, he figured it was best for her to have gone at the time she had. She was a wonderful woman who was blameless and upright. But at some point, due to life's pressures, she was almost beginning to succumb to alternatives that God wouldn't have been pleased with. And it was at that point that God took her, just before she could have deviated....His level of acceptance was deep...and it shook me, albeit quietly.
God has a higher purpose for everything he permits to happen to us. We may never know that purpose directly. But just knowing that He never lets us handle more than we can bear is enough to comfort us. He knows everything. He sees everything. For each tear that He permits to fall from our eyes, there is a purpose...
Jeremiah 29:11 - "For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good, and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope..."
And now, to my all time favourite scripture:
Romans 8: 28 - Äll things worketh together for the good of they that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose".
Nothing beats that!! Absolutely nothing....