I always hear about people wanting to know God’s will for their lives and figure out what their “purpose” is. At times it can be portrayed as if they somehow have to find the answer before it’s too late, or their life will have been wasted because they didn’t know what it was meant for. That’s always put a lot of stress on me and bothered me, and I think I’ve figured out why. It’s up to me to figure it out – I’ve got to understand it and then go an do it, or it won’t get done. That’s a lot of pressure on me. I could marry the wrong person, work at the wrong job, get involved in the wrong church and serve in the wrong ministry. If I don’t get things right, then my life will be wasted. But that’s the rub – it’s dependent on if I get things right, and the result is that my life will be wasted. It’s all too focused on me.
A little bit ago I read a passage that has lifted a lot of the stress from my back as I reflect upon it. It comes from Psalm 138, verse 8:
“The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands.”
That’s very encouraging to me. YHWH, the God of the universe will fulfill his purpose for me! Who’s the active one? Me, or God? The whole Psalm is about the glory of God and how he regards the lowly (i.e. me). He is the active one who does good and is good. He is the one who works great things in me. He is the subject. He will not forsake his work (i.e. me). That’s comforting. It’s not up to me to make sure I fulfill his purpose – and thank goodness too! I would easily mess it up in my sin and brokenness. I can rest in a God who is sovereign – knowing that “what he purposes he will also perform,” and that he is a God who “leads captivity captive” and uses all things for his glory and my good.
He will fulfill his purpose for me, whether I’m on board or not – whether I get it “right” or not. Now, this isn’t to say that we just do whatever we want (“may it never be!”), but that the burden does not lay upon us to get it right. Better to be vessels of honor who joyfully serve the Lord with all of their heart, soul, mind, and strength, then vessels of wrath who are used against their will. Both will bring God glory. We are to serve God with a willing heart in the best way we know how – but if we get bogged down in trying to do everything “right” then I’m afraid we’ll be guilty of doing nothing at all, gripped by fear that we’re doing things “wrong.” I take great comfort in a God who is sovereign enough to use me no matter what I do. He is mindful of my weakness, foolishness and brokenness – and he is not unable to use those things for his glory. So I do my best to serve in my weakness and he will do with that what he will.
“YWHW will fulfill his purpose for me.” I don’t have to worry about figuring out exactly what that is. May his name be praised for that!