Different paths, pains and prizes
I’ve been going through a period of examining my life; asking myself questions like, “What are you really doing with your life?” I don’t know exactly what triggered it off but I found myself in that sober, dark place where one has to dig deep in order to break out into the light with clarity and focus.
To be honest, I recently found myself envious of some other lives that seem to ‘have it all together’ and seem to be doing great on all sides. Yep, I got caught in the web of comparison.
As I was reading my daily devotional this morning, a part of it struck me, so I shared it on Facebook like this:
“Life is not a competition that you have to win. It is not supposed to be a rat race. Life is a huge privilege and an opportunity. God has trusted you with gifts and abilities, which he wants you to use. Use them or lose them. He is faithful to us and he expects us to be faithful to him.” (Copied)
There’s no point looking at others and comparing ourselves with them or our lives with theirs. It is a tendency most of us have, even I catch myself comparing once in a while…..thinking the grass is looking greener in someone else’s yard.
Each and every one of us has a course to run – our own unique track. For our unique journey or race, our Maker has put in us all we need to run well and make Him proud. At the end of the day, it is He we are living (or running) for, not for another human being and certainly not for ourselves.
So rather than look at others and ask what they have that we don’t have, let’s continually look:
– at the potential within us and ask what more we can be doing;
– at the Author and Finisher of our faith and ask for grace to do the Father’s will.
Yet it was sitting down and thinking afterwards that the import of the stuff I shared really hit me. You see, the path that God puts us on once we have encountered Him (through Christ) determines so many things like if we will marry, where we will live, our financial status, etc. There are other things, of course, but permit me to expatiate on these three at this time because they are touchy areas in these times.
- If we will marry
Paul did not get married and advocated for staying single because he saw marriage as a potential source of distraction from God and His assignment for us. Remember, “Some choose not to marry for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 19:12, NLT)
Some of us (not many, I know) do find that marriage is not expedient and would rather give their total being to God’s service. It is said that singleness is a calling. I believe one’s path may require singleness while another’s path requires the partnership of marriage. The question of partnership is what would lead to the other side of this equation which is WHO we will marry if we do marry. This is however not my focus now.
- Where we will live
Just reading this, some of us would roll our eyes and say, “This is surely our decision to make with our own common sense.” Yet notice how God kept directing people to move to certain places (for reasons best known to Him)? Sometimes, the reason became clear but this was not always the case.
Take a look at Matthew 2: Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem (in their understanding) in obedience to the decree concerning a census. Unknown to them, God moved them to that town to fulfill prophecy (v.6). Then God had them hide out in Egypt and another prophecy was fulfilled (v.15) and eventually they settled in Nazareth and fulfilled yet another prophecy (v.23). Our story line might not be written out in books or scrolls of prophecies but they are written out before God –
You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.
(Psalm 139:16, NLT)
God has a game plan. He is a Master strategist. We are like the pieces (howbeit loved indescribably) in the game of chess and we must trust Him enough to submit to His control and let Him move us where He wills in order to accomplish His purposes here on Earth.
- Our financial status
A missionary serving God in a remote village somewhere all of his life will never have the same financial status as another child of God serving God in their marketplace where they earn a good income from their occupation. It’s not because God is unfair. Rather, it just shows that finances/financial status means nothing to God. Our having lots of money or a little money doesn’t change who God is. A Christian with scarce means doesn’t imply that his God is “a poor God” as some have taught in error. God is not the God of only the wealthy but also of the poor and being a Christian doesn’t guarantee you’ll amass earthly wealth.
What matters to God is that we are running the race that He built and equipped us to run, on the tracks He’s laid out for us to run on. So, I choose to put aside the petty issues of life – what I will eat, drink, or wear (see Matthew 6:25) – and I have set my face like flint to run my course such that I can say one day, just like Paul, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:” (2 Timothy 4:7, KJV).
Or as it is put in my favourite translation:
“This is the only race worth running. I’ve run hard right to the finish, believed all the way. All that’s left now is the shouting—God’s applause!” (2 Timothy 4:7-8a, MSG).