Thursday, August 21, 2008

What Are You Doing Here?

What are you doing here?

Sure, I sometimes wonder why people bother to stop by any of my blogs, but my real question restated is What are you doing here?

It's not a hard question, but you may have problems figuring out an answer. I think this question can really be posed to three different aspects of your life:

1.) How You Got Here - It Can Be a Rough Road

There are many, many people out there that were born into less-than-ideal circumstances. There are those who have been born into broken homes, into drug or alcohol saturated environments, to parents that could not care for you, to parents who did not want to be parents, into poverty, into abusive families, or other atrocities.

Let me tell you something quickly. You were not a mistake. Your parents may not have expected you, but your arrival did not surprise God.

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations." --Jeremiah 1:5

He knew you were on your way. He knew the situation that you would be faced with, and he allowed it. Do you understand what that means? He doesn't get kicks out of watching innocent people suffer--he has a plan to use your lot in life for his purpose.

2.) You Past Pains - Why, God, why?

Some people, when experiencing a hardship or seeing a painful situation that pierces their heart will doubt the existence of God. The defense of their argument is always something like "why would a loving god allow _______ to happen?" It's a perfectly reasonable question. Don't're not in trouble for asking.

In fact, you're greatly accurate in your thinking. Your assumption that he is powerful enough to stop it is accurate; in fact, one day he will stop all suffering. He is interested enough in our everyday activities to care about what happens to us. However, ceasing the pain is not always his plan. He might allow it in order to emphasize a need elsewhere; he might want to draw someone nearer to him by allowing them to hit rock bottom to realize they need to look up; he might be teaching us lessons that we can use later in life to positively influence others; he might just be setting us up for a miracle where he is given all of the glory; or he might just be letting us learn the hard way that our bad decisions do have consequences. However, the fact that there is pain and hardship in this world are not proof in the absence of God, but rather in his Sovereignty. You heard me. He is holy. He doesn't do things the way we do. In fact, if we could do better with our lives, he would allow it. We have all seen how well life goes when we try to take the reigns--it just doesn't work. He has our best interests at heart. He can see the horizon that is hidden from us.

I can tell you of a dozen times that I've wondered "why, God, why?" My father suffered from cancer THREE times before it finally took his life at age 60 (acceptance). I have stood face to face with an advanced stage pre-cancer myself (all gone now). I have lived--hollowlike as it was at the time--through a broken and aching marriage (we're good now). My sister was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease at the ripe old age of 38 (she's living with it...we're still praying). I lost a good friend to a tragic accident while we were both teenagers (more acceptance). These are just a few examples. And I'm only 29 years old.

These situations have not crippled me--they have provided strength. Sure, they have been heart-wretching at times, but I have grown closer to my Lord because I could do nothing but lean on him. I have been able to reach out to others in similar situations, and I truly feel that my influence on others in similar areas is not complete.

Here's the deal--you are not the result of your past pains alone. You can let them determine your life's outcome. You can allow them to take hold of you and suffocate you from without. But you don't have to. You are what you allow yourself to become as a result of these situations. Do you become bitter, angry, hurt, and distant? Or do you grow more whole, stronger, more faithful? It's your decision; you are not a slave to your past.

3.) Your Future - Are You Still Reading This?

If you are still reading this, part of me wants to thank you; another part of me wants to scream, "Get out of here and get to work!"

You see, if you are still breathing, God has a job left for you to do. He hasn't forgotten to take you yet...he's waiting for you to finish the task at hand. You're not being allowed to rest after completing the task at hand--trust me, he has a much more restful place for you when the time is right. You've still got work to do. You may not quite know what that task is, but I would suggest that you at least start seeking out what that task is.

You have been given a gift to share. Find out what that gift is. Keep your eyes open for opportunity. Keep in close contact with God via prayer. Find your spiritual niche. And share it. Share it boldly, share it consistently, share it urgently, share it faithfully.

It is, after all, why you are here.

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