As this topic has been approaching for an upcoming issue of Blessed Beyond Bars, a prison ministry I help out with at my church, I’ve found myself scouring the internet, reading articles, how-to’s, listening to podcasts, and asking friends just how in the world does one discover their purpose.
And I think the reason why I find it so difficult to communicate to others is partially because I have more trouble understanding how anyone could love Jesus and not discover their purpose.
When I think back to how I went from sitting in the “hole” of a state penitentiary, to being in ministry, there was no magic program of 10 steps that I followed.
In fact, at that moment and since that moment all I really had to wrap my mind around was one thing:
I love Jesus and all that He has done for me, and I want to follow Him for the rest of my life. Wherever that led me didn’t matter as long as I got to be with HIM!
My life had been dramatically changed!
I was like the demon possessed man from Luke 8:26-40…
The entire town had been terrified of this man because he was crazy. They would bind him up with chains and shackles, and he would break free of them and harm himself. He was naked and living in a cemetery.
That was my life.
Everyone who ever knew me could see that I was insane. I had no regard for my own well-being. I spent all of my time playing cat and mouse with local law enforcement (usually losing). I lived life on the fringes of society. I didn’t live in a cemetery, yet, but I was on my way there.
I desperately wanted to change, but that seemed impossible because it was impossible.
To someone who had not had a moment of peaceful sobriety since they were eleven years old, living a “normal” life was a non-starter.
So I know how that man felt when Jesus came along one day, and healed Him right there in the middle of his inescapable suffering, because He did that for me, too!
In an instant, I was delivered of the shame of my past, and flooded with the love of Christ!
Suddenly, I was, “sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in (my) right mind” (from verse 35).
And just like the man, I was begging Jesus to let me be with Him.
So what does Jesus say to this man whose life has been changed and now wants to follow Him?
“Return to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you,” (emphasis mine).
What used to be my PROBLEM suddenly became my PURPOSE.
God wanted to use my own experiences, struggles, and deliverance to go back to the places I had been and pull others up out of their graves.
And He wants to use yours, too!
I think this is what Romans 8:28 means when it says that, “All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose,” (emphasis mine).
If you are struggling with finding the way that God wants to use you, look at what He’s already done for you.
As gentiles (people who aren’t Jewish) we tend to look at prophecy through the lens of God says something is going to happen, and therefore it happens.
But in Jewish culture, prophesy is viewed as pattern, meaning God tends to do things the same way that He has done them throughout history.
You might notice how certain stories of the Old Testament mirror the stories of Jesus in the New Testament.
God uses patterns in our life to point us to His calling for us.
God can use anything and everything to accomplish His purposes, including our old sins, our shame, and our struggles.
The sincere desire to be closer to Him and walk with Him is what qualifies us for our calling, and a willingness to let Him use our brokenness to make something beautiful.
Danny L. Deaubé said, “God’s will is like a jigsaw puzzle. Until you put all the pieces together, you won’t be able to see the whole picture.”
It is human nature to want to see the final product of what God is shaping us to be, but sometimes we become so focused on the end result that we forget to enjoy the beauty of what He has already done and is accomplishing in our lives even now.
My prayer for you and for me is that we will be able to relax, and know that He is God. And that He who started a good work in us will bring it to completion.
And the only thing we have to do is love Him and make a decision to follow Him. Everything else will fall into place in His time so long as we are still willing to GO when He says, “Go!”
Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoy my work as much as I enjoy writing it!
Please don’t forget to subscribe and God bless you!