Experiences as Preludes

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I have been having a hard time lately believing the things I am going through-whether they may be good or bad are leading me up to my purpose. There are times I get to a point in my mind and I’m just like “God, really? Is all this necessary? Didn’t you promise me a life of abundance and fullness…this sure hasn’t been it”. When you’re dealing with depression, anxiety, lack of money, not enjoying your job, seemingly endless interruptions in your life, and negativity, the thought that you may be on your path to your purpose may become foggy or even questionable. Has been for me.

In a more recent night I kept waking up in horrible panic. I decided after maybe the sixth time of waking up from panic attacks in my sleep within a hour time span, to just stay up. I was very distraught and I had been feeling overwhelmed. I consider all my issues “first world issues”.  However, I am going to be honest with you everything is a mess. Money is crazy out of order, I need a better job, and as much as I was praying and praying for my purpose to become more prevalent in my life, it seemed like nothing was happening.

But God is good and even in nights of panic He reminded me of something I seemed to keep forgetting. A truth that so many of us try to align by our own doing and change on our own terms-perfect timing.

That night I woke up from six panic attacks and stayed up, I decided to reach out to the Word of God. I found myself reading Mark, which is a book of the Gospel that tells about what Jesus did here on this earth-the proceedings up until his ultimate purpose. In this particular part of Mark, Jesus encounters several people who expressed their need for his great power.  In chapter 4 he gets in a boat with his disciples to cross a lake. As they cross the lake a storms comes with raging waves, water starts to fill the boat, and the disciples begin to panic while Jesus sleeps on the boat trip. They wake him, asking him if he even cares if they drown. Jesus sits up and commands the waves to be still. The storm calms and the waves are placid.  In chapter 5 the story goes on. Jesus and his disciples get to the other side of the lake to find a man who is heavily possessed by evil spirits. The book of Mark says that this man was so driven by the powers of evil that “whenever he was put into chains and shackles-as he often was-he snapped the chains from his wrists and smashed the shackles. No one was strong enough to subdue him” (v.4). As Jesus encounters this man he calls out the spirits and they get casted out by Jesus into some nearby pigs. The man is healed and shares his story with whom will listen. In the same book, Jesus is on his way back to the other side of the lake and when he gets off the boat again a father asks Jesus to heal his dying little girl. Jesus went with him and as he did, passing through the crowds a lady who had been bleeding for 12 years was healed by Jesus.

Jesus was living his life and as he did this he created his ultimate purpose-dying on the cross- even more meaningful. The storm on the boat, the encounters he had with people who needed healing, the miracles, and just his simple life experiences on earth before getting to the cross, made his purpose and meaning on that cross what its worth. Imagine if Jesus just came to the earth, declared he was the son of God and was put on a cross? Would that still be meaningful to you in your walk with him? Would his ultimate purpose of dying for our sins hold the significance it does today? No. Jesus had proceedings to his purpose. Even though he was perfectly God, he was also sent to show us how to be human through our experiences. How our experiences shape us for our purpose. Jesus showed us through his walk on on earth how our experiences whether they are good or bad, whether we were wronged or the one doing the wrong doing-it can all be used for our purpose, and that is what life is about.

Jesus was always on a mission. Even when he was on the mission in Mark to heal the dying little girl, he was stopped by others-he had other experiences along the way to his purpose that made his purpose that more meaningful. Those experiences were the prelude to what it meant to overcome-what it really meant and signified as he was nailed to the cross. If Jesus had to undergo this shaping to his purpose, what made me think I didn’t? Why do I think God’s timing is just off and all these things that occur in my life are setbacks? What is the point of me walking in my purpose if there hasn’t been that pre-coating of meaning preceding to it? What significance would my purpose reflect if I had no story of overcoming and redemption?

Our experiences are not setbacks. They could be if we don’t ask Jesus to help make them slingshots toward our destiny. Our experiences leading to our goals and purpose, they might seem unnecessary and cumbersome. However consider when Jesus healed or fed, redeemed-or taught it was seldom done in a conventional or traditional manner. God hasn’t forgotten or forsaken us. He knows where we are going, we just have to trust that he is an original God with impeccable timing. We have to get the fact that if we don’t have insignificance now there is no hope for significance later in our purpose. Our challenges-the overcoming of them, the healing and growth we can attain from our life right here right now, that is what makes our purpose our purpose and that is what makes them meaningful. Jesus was sent to demonstrate how to do human life with God at our side. Way before he depicted humility, redemption, sacrifice, love, and victory on the cross, he practiced it all through his human experience first.

His experiences were the framework to his powerful purpose.

We can make our plans,
    but the Lord determines our steps.
Proverbs 16:9

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