Fulfilling Your Purpose: Do Not Expect A Smooth Journey
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed – 1 Peter 4:12-13.
One of the greatest lies some Christians have been fed is that life becomes a bed of roses because God is involved in it. That everything will be so sweet and smooth. This can’t be further than the truth. Everything isn’t going to be all rosy and easy because you’re working towards your God-given purpose. It doesn’t work that way and we can this fact from the lives of so many Bible heroes and men of faith that have gone ahead of us.
There are going to be obstacles on your way and that is for sure. God teaches us this lesson through nature. A seed grows into a beautiful plant. It grows so big and begins to bear fruit and people benefit from its fruit, wood and shade. But do we sit to think of its process of growth? Have you imagined what it means to be buried in the dark and cold ground seeing no light for days, weeks or even longer? Or have you thought of how the seedling struggles to push through the soil to breakthrough to open ground? I guess not many of us have sat to think of this. Growth isn’t always easy and change isn’t always comfortable.
Or maybe we could learn this lesson better from the life of Joseph who suffered because of his dreams. He was despised by his brothers, thrown into a well, sold as a slave, lied against by his master’s wife and thrown into prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Even someone he had helped in prison forgot him for long. Or maybe we’ll learn more from the life of Jesus and His disciples after him. Jesus was constantly hunted by His enemies who sought to kill Him. All the scorn and mockery, humiliation, beatings, betrayals and even death on a cross- a treatment reserved for the worst of criminals meted out to the purest man. Most importantly, He had to take on our sins and be separated from the Father as a result. All this was because He had to achieve His purpose - our salvation.
The truth is that there are going to be challenges on the way. Your family and close friends may not see what you see or support your vision. There are going to be times when you will feel like to give up because nothing seems to be going well. You may get frustrated and begin to have second thoughts about your calling. The resources you need may not seem to be forthcoming. You may face outright persecution and even come across people who have promised to frustrate all your efforts. All this may happen. But a clear sense of purpose will keep you focused. A knowledge of your God will keep you on the right path.
No road to self fulfilment is free of difficulty. It is popularly said that a smooth sea never makes an experienced sailor, and that is true about our lives too. God never promised us a trouble-free life. What he promised us was that He will be with us through it all and that promise is more than enough to get us through. Like Daniel, God will be with us even in the Lion’s den. Like Joseph in the well and in prison God will be with us. Like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, God will be with us in the blazing furnace. And because God is on your side you can’t lose.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 says “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed.” This should remain in our hearts always. With God pressure will never crush you. Instead like a diamond, it will refine you. You can never be destroyed. You may be persecuted but God will never abandon you. You may be down and depressed, you may feel all hope is lost but God calls out to you today saying “I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27. Indeed nothing is too hard for Him and the seas will not swallow you when He is there to calm the storm. Hallelujah!