The seasons of life and passage of time, marked and measured by the divinely orchestrated movements of the moon and sun, are a relentless reminder of how fleeting our days upon earth are.
I call to God Most High, to God who fulfills His purpose for me. Psalm 57:2
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” I’ll bet you have asked that question of children numerous times. At what age do you remember first being asked that question? Do you recall some of your early answers? At the root of the question is an even more important life-purpose question – “who do you want to become?” From childhood on, that question can intrigue, inspire, infatuate or infuriate us our entire lives.
Why do we find ourselves, like hiking some circuitous looping trail, repeatedly stumbling back upon that same probing question? For one thing most of us in our unguarded moments would admit we still feel like eternal kids or teenagers in our heart of hearts. There is a sense we have when confronted with our own vulnerability or weaknesses or failures that we really have not progressed as far in life as we had imagined; and in fact may be stuck in a kind emotional adolescence still groping with questions of that sort.
I had a friend, a diminutive woman with the boldness of a lion, who was a social worker in a men’s residential treatment center. She made it her practice to stand toe to toe with new residents, and while staring up at them and pointing her forefinger at their chest. She would ask, “How old are you? I mean really, not chronologically, but inside, how old are you?” And she told me in her many years working there nearly every man gave the same essential answer. They all admitted to still being teenagers.
“Who do I want to become?” Why do we keep coming back to that question? Probably the most salient reason is that it is all too easy to repeatedly get side-tracked by seemingly urgent and persistent questions such as “What do I want to get done?” The pressure of getting things done often preempts and causes us to disregard the more important focus of pursuing who we want to become.
“All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:16 NIV)
It is my belief that God has a unique purpose and calling for everyone whom He creates. Both the Old and New Testament repeatedly refer to the fact that God in a very real sense calls us to be His from our mother’s womb. Psalm 139 written by King David and quoted above is one of the most poignant portions of scripture in describing God’s hand upon our lives even before our birth. It is to this truth that Apostle Paul is referring when he pens a thousand years later “we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)
Discovering this sense of divine purpose can have a dramatic and motivating effect upon a person’s life. Jeremiah’s entire life was shaped by the realization that God’s plan for him was set in motion while he was yet in his mother’s womb. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5 NIV) Isaiah had a similar experience being called by God even before his birth to an amazing prophetic ministry. (Isaiah 49:1) And even Paul discloses in one of his epistles that “God set me apart from birth and called me by his grace.” (Galatians 1:15 NIV) That understanding gives us a sense of what propelled him in his life of unceasing travel and writing for the cause of the furtherance of the Gospel.
Have you come to recognize God’s purposeful involvement in your life? Have you begun to realize His unique calling upon you? Do not be too quick to dismiss the likes of Jeremiah and Paul as people with whom you cannot identify. Albeit, few callings are as lofty as theirs, but nonetheless each of us is similar to them in that we are meant to know God’s purpose for our lives.