Have you ever wondered what God’s purpose was for your life when He created you in your Mother’s womb? What about thinking about His desire to do life with you and dream with you?
Lately I have been asking myself that a lot. Not just for my own life, but for all of humanity actually. I know, I know, that’s a pretty big question, but as I think about it I believe God wishes that doing life with Him would be beautiful. He wants it to be a level of intimacy we cannot even imagine would be possible.
While that gives me such new passion to seek God and what He has in store for me, it also makes me reflect and think about what my beliefs are about life with God that are simply not true.
Last fall we had a guest speaker on our base that was preaching at one of our community nights. She was talking about how her faith and opinions got challenged in this past year. She asked us the question, “When was the last time you let God change your mind about something?” A specific quote that really stuck with me was, “If there is something that we believe is to be part of the Gospel, but it would not apply to every person in the world it is probably not the Gospel.” This led me on a journey for a few months of unpacking what that means.
First off, it made me think about how easily a lot of western Christians throw around phrases like, “If it’s in His will it’s in His bill”. That sentence always made me cringe a little because of its cheesiness and now after coming back from outreach I don’t believe it’s 100% true.
A few weeks went by after that community night and our speaker’s quote still had not left my mind. Even when it was time for me to fly to Brazil and Mexico to lead a DTS outreach there for two months, I couldn’t stop thinking about this quote. I loved being in these beautiful countries and getting to know the people. I loved seeing God’s diversity and beauty in different cultures. Our team built relationships with the locals and we saw the love they carried for others and the Lord so much. Outreach was amazing, but it also can be extremely hard to see how poverty is so evident in these places.
When I was in Brazil, I often felt the tension in my heart between the way I was raised versus the reality of poverty before my eyes. Growing up, I sort of believed that everything would be fine because of Jesus, but here I was playing with kids in an impoverished community that are dreaming of affording to go to school one day.
Somehow the gospel I remember being taught about in Sunday School did not translate into the area I was in. The phrase, “if it’s in His will, it’s in His bill” didn’t make sense now because what did that mean to those kids in that community? Does it mean that God doesn’t care about their needs? Which, first off, I know not be true.
I knew I needed to seek God these hard questions because I truly do believe that God’s character does not change and that He does provide. But if I think of the cheesy statement above I think it is a bit more complicated than that. I had to come to the conclusion that in my world I was desensitized to my own privileges to how and where I was raised.
Here’s the thing I did not get a clear answer on: why is there injustice in the world? God had to take me on a personal journey of believing that He is good and that His steady character is not influenced by the state of this world. I knew I needed to wrestle this out with God because how could I be a missionary or an authentic Christian without believing in His character?
By seeing the reality of poverty, God showed me sinful decisions have real consequences on real, often innocent, people who suffer. I started seeing people abusing the authority they’ve been given by the command from the Lord to “subdue the earth”.
However, God also gave me hope that because of that same authority that we’ve been given, we can bring heaven on earth. Coming face to face with emotional, spiritual, and physical poverty made me see how much work still needs to be done. We desperately need to carry the hope of Jesus everywhere we go. It might not always lead you on a missions trip, (even though by doing DTS that is possible) but it might lead you to be a listening ear to a friend, to love your co-workers, and ultimately to shine your light wherever you go.
I’m sorry if these were not the answers that you are looking for, but I encourage you to see if your own beliefs are not adding up with reality. If they don’t, God is wanting you to really seek Him and draw close to find those answers with Him. I think this is all a part of what God imagined life with Him would be like, not just some fairy tale. He knows the broken world we live in and sees that things in our life on earth don’t always work out perfectly. Yet, God is always there to catch you and to hold you and to fight injustice with you.
When I feel overwhelmed by the injustice and brokenness in this world I go back to Micah 6:8 (NIV) and simply look at what God is asking me personally to do:
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.Micah 6:8