We all have painted pictures in our minds of what our future holds. As soon as we are able to form the concept of "when I get older" as children, the pictures begin to unfold. The paths that form from these thoughts are colored by our hopes and dreams. They usually have an ultimate pot of gold filled with all the things of this world we hope to achieve - status, power, wealth, notoriety, happiness. We set our sights on this pot of gold and make it our purpose in life. All of our choices ultimately revolve around it. Does this ring true with you in some way? It did for our family before an unforeseen freight train called cancer came crashing into the scene - a train loaded with scenarios we had viewed from a distance, but NEVER had allowed to be considered in our beautifully laid out plans. We felt the tight grip the "world" had placed on our hearts start to loosen as our priorities changed and we began to search for meaning and new purpose.
This train crash left us in a place no one wants to visit. Filled with choices of how to find purpose and make a new path, it is up to us where we turn. Do we turn to God or do we turn away? The choice is ours to make - how we live is our decision alone. God is waiting patiently with His arms wide open to comfort us and bring us peace. He grieves with us through the suffering, knowing our human understanding cannot make sense of our trials. His promise is He will walk with us even in the darkest of moments and provide us the opportunity to grow closer to Him if that is our choice.
It became clear at the moment when Zach's beautiful spirit left his physical body what our purpose had become - this world is not all there is. This is only a small piece of our existence in God's view of our life. This foundation is our opportunity to share what has been placed in our hearts and the thing that matters most is sharing our belief that there is MORE - there is a Heaven. That Jesus was sent to save us and give us the choice to share this magnificent place that is beyond our comprehension and imagination with everyone who will listen. No matter what other purpose there is, we must let others know so that they can experience the Holy Spirit in their hearts IF they so choose.
We all will slip. I just experienced a very difficult and dark week where despair, doubt, anger and grief invaded my heart. The grip of the world began to tighten around my mind once again. I tried to pray. I tried to find peace and hope, but my despair consumed me, overwhelmed me. I questioned everything - how could I be sending you encouragement when I felt so lost? Then I surrendered. I opened my heart and made a choice to give God control. I could feel the grip of the world slip away and the purpose came back. My heart was open and all of these thoughts came flooding into my mind. It is up to us to choose to find purpose. I believe God will use the trials in our lives to give us the opportunity to have a deeper understanding of why we are here - to not allow the world to control our purpose, but to USE our purpose to make the world better for those around us.
Here are some of God's words as they relate to purpose, choices and endurance...
"It's in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ,. . . . He had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose He is working out in everything and everyone." - Ephesians 1:11 (MSG)
"A life devoted to things is a dead life, a stump; a God-shaped life is a flourishing tree." - Proverbs 11:28 (Msg)
"Blessed are those who trust in the Lord . . . They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they go right on producing delicious fruit." - Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NLT)
"For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, . . . everything got started in Him and finds its purpose in Him." - Colossians 1:16 (MSG)
"You, LORD, give perfect peace to those who keep their purpose firm and put their trust in you." - Isaiah 26:3 (TEV)
"This world is fading away, along with everything in craves. But if you do the will of God, you will live forever." - 1 John 2:17 (NLT)
"Give yourselves to God, . . . Surrender your whole being to Him to be used for righteous purposes." - Romans 6:13 (TEV)
"They encouraged them to continue in the faith, reminding them that they must enter into the Kingdom of God through many tribulations." - Acts 14:22 (LB)
"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us - they help us learn to endure." - Romans 5:3
"Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything." - James 1:2-4 (LB)
Death is inevitable, but I hope and pray you never experience the situation of losing someone way before they should go. I believe there is a reason I have lived this and it must not be wasted. There is so much more...what could be more important than sharing this purpose that has been given to me to ensure as many people understand this and have the opportunity to believe it too?
I know everything I say could be complete rubbish, nonsense or fantasy - but what have I lost for CHOOSING to believe that when I leave this earth I will go on to another place so magnificent it defies explanation? What have I lost if I have decided to place my belief in God who became flesh and left us instructions to love one another and fill ourselves with forgiveness, peace and hope? I think this purpose is worth the risk of being wrong. I think this purpose will win no matter what lies outside of the bounds of this earth.
"You weren't put on earth to be remembered. You were put here to prepare for eternity." - Rick Warren, "The Purpose Driven Life"
Live life with purpose and hug those you love everyday!