Take a look at the photo…check out the poor kid in the middle? Have you ever felt like you were being squeezed by the less desirable aspects of life? The pressure is significant, you’re not sure how long you’ll feel this way, and all the while you are cruising down the road of life.
First, let’s establish the fact that, although at the moment it may be hard to believe, your life has purpose and meaning. In fact, you were specifically and uniquely designed to fulfill an assignment on earth and you have gifts intended to be used for your purpose.
Unfortunately, however, some people have a hard time believing that their life could have any particular purpose. “I was just an accident” I have heard many times. “How do you know?” I always ask. ”My parents told me…” is typically the response.
Friends, nobody is an accident. Your life is not an accident. As Rick Warren, author of The Purpose-Driven Life, has said, “There are accidental parents. There are no accidental children. There are illegitimate parents. There are no illegitimate children. Your parents may not have planned you but God planned you. Really it doesn’t matter whether your parents were good, bad, or indifferent. They may have even abandoned you. But they were the parents God chose for you. Why? Because they had just the right DNA to create you. And God was more interested in making you than He was in their parenting skills.”
Interestingly, Pope Clement VII, Leonardo da Vinci, Alexander Hamilton and even Josephine de Beauharnais (Napoleon’s wife) have something in common…they were all born of illegitimate ‘parents’.
How did you get here? Choices—the choices made by you and by others. The good news is that regardless of how much we all mess things up there is God that desires to make good of it all. Let me explain—
Stuff Happens. I know that my not be the most popular version of the saying but the meaning is the same. Stuff happens and it happens for a reason all right—people make choices and there are consequences because of them. Unfortunately, we all make poor choices throughout our life. Hopefully, we learn from them. However, in the meantime people are affected by our choices just as we are affected by the choices of others.
Our ability to choose—our freewill—is God’s greatest blessing and curse that He gave us. If we didn’t have freewill, then we really wouldn’t be living. Rather, we would simply be puppets with strings attached to the hands of God. We would merely be an extension of His imagination. We certainly wouldn’t have a purpose to fulfill anymore than does a doll laying on your child’s bedroom floor. We would be more like a programmed robot sent to earth. A program has predetermined functionality–if this…then that…
No, we are not puppets with strings nor are we programmed robots walking the earth. We are living, thinking, and personally responsible beings. We exercise our freewill to act and, consequently due to our poor choices, the world is no longer a perfect place. If God were not to allow evil to happen, then He would have to stop our freedom of choice.
What is awe-inspiring, however, is regardless of how bad our choices are and those of the people around us–regardless of the mess that we may have made of life–God can ultimately use it all for our good. It is during these difficult times that our character is developed in such a way that we obtain the ability to fulfill our purpose.
How amazing is that? God will take our struggles and use them for our strength. Helen Keller said, ”Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” Gothe simply said, “Character develops itself in the stream of life.”
Ironically, struggles are necessary to achieve greatness. Just as a butterfly must go through the struggle of freeing itself from its cocoon in order to develop the strength to fly, we too must grow from our struggles in order to fulfill our mission.
The real question is can you say, “This is will all be for good,” during the tough time prior to understanding how it worked out for you? It is about having faith. It’s about learning to “dance in the rain” rather than to simply “survive the storm.” Given God made you for a purpose and has a plan for your life, can you have faith in Him?
A powerful verse in the Bible says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) Your degree of peace during difficulties reveals your faith. Imagine the peace you would feel with the security of knowing that the God of the universe has your best interest in mind. It’s like seeing a movie for the second time and knowing all along how well it all works out in the end. It’s a lot more relaxing, isn’t it?
So, if you are the child on squeezed in the middle of life, don’t ask, “How did I get here?… Rather, thank God that somehow, someway your experience can be used for good. Smile. Have faith. You are just passing through one frame of the movie of your life.