When God's Purposes Become Clearer in Our Lives
There are often times in the Christian life when it appears unclear to us what the Lord is up to. We may ask, “Why am I going through this?” Or perhaps, “What is the point of this?” Or something like, “What purpose does this serve?” Personally, I have found myself asking these questions at various intervals and in different seasons of my life.
In one such season, I found myself on the other side of the world in graduate school and working alongside a local church. I started learning a language that I might never use again outside of that context. I spent hours upon hours sharing good news with students on a local university campus. Unfortunately, none of these students, nor any of my other friends, accepted that good news while I was there. Over the past 2 years – since I have returned from that region of the world and entered into other seasons of life – I have often reflected upon that season with confusion and disappointment, wondering what purpose my being there served. Was my time there pointless? Had I wasted my time learning another language and culture?
No. In fact, God had a purpose and a plan for me having those experiences and engaging in language learning. These last few months, I have gotten a snapshot of the sovereignty and providence of our God at work. I now live in a different region of the world working for a global company serving clients across the region. We recently started an office in the region that I once lived in with people who speak the same language that I had spent time learning. Now, I get to serve and support this group of people on a weekly basis through my work. What an incredible privilege it has been to catch a tiny glimpse of God connecting a couple of the dots in my story and orchestrating such a unique overlap with my past experiences and the work that I am currently engaged in.
The reality, however, is that we don’t always see clearly what God is doing in and through us – or at least what good thing He is ultimately bringing about. He doesn’t always reveal to us what the purpose of some specific situation, circumstance, or season of life serves. In light of this, how do we process our experiences and the feelings of confusion and uncertainty in the moment through a Gospel lens?
The answer: by reminding ourselves of truth.
We must time and time again revisit the truths and principles of God’s word to bring ourselves back to a posture of trust in the Lord and His promises. You see, thankfully, there will be a day when we will finally see this beautiful tapestry of cosmic proportions come together – every thread woven together in grand mystery, perfect wisdom, and splendid majesty. The mosaic of redemptive history will culminate into one great masterpiece, putting on full display the glory and grace of our great God. This is our ultimate reality and the glorious hope that we cling to (whether or not we get to see the good that is being wrought by our sovereign King in this life).
When writing encouragement and instruction to the Corinthians, Paul paints the same reality this way: “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12). Again, as John reminds us: “Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.” (1 John 3:2-3).
Until then, may we, together as the body of Christ, strive for faithfulness in the Gospel and trust our Father who is in heaven to work all things together for His glory and our good – He will surely do it.