For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep, and was laid among his fathers and underwent decay;
Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, "Do not imagine that you in the king's palace can escape any more than all the Jews. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?" Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, "Go, assemble all the Jews who are found in Susa, and fast for me; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maidens also will fast in the same way. And thus I will go in to the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish." So Mordecai went away and did just as Esther had commanded him. (Acts 13:36; Esther 4:13-17, NASB)
"Concretely, abandonment to the will of God consists of finding his purpose for you in all the people, events, and circumstances you encounter. If God tears up your beautiful game plan and leads you into a valley instead of onto a mountaintop, it is because he wants you to discover his plan, which is more beautiful than anything you or I could have dreamed up. The response of trust is 'Thank you, Jesus,' even if it is said through clenched teeth." (Brennan Manning, Reflections for Ragamuffins – July 18 entry)
Recently, I had the opportunity to join my wife for a chapel service at the local seminary. It happened to be the very last one for the year and their speaker was Dr. Tony Evans. I had not heard him speak, but his reputation certainly preceded him. As he began, he read the verse above from Acts as his text and began to speak to us. I'm not one for taking a single verse out of its context, but this was some remarkable insight, especially given some of the students sitting there were ready to embark on careers in various ministry opportunities. Dr. Evans plainly speaking about God's purpose for our lives was more than just a passing challenge. He spoke with passion about how God uses our individuality to fulfill what He ultimately sees fit to happen as His greater story unfolds around us.
As I listened again to the recording of this message, my thoughts drifted to the story of Esther and, in particular, her exchange with her uncle regarding whether or not she would go into the king and make a request. The story is unique among canonized scripture in that the actual name of God isn't mentioned even once. Yet the presence of the Almighty could not be more obvious. And Mordecai might has well have said, "Who knows? Perhaps God has specifically put you in this position to serve His purpose for this generation of Israelites." Knowing the story, it most certainly would fit.
Then there was my daily reading from Brennan Manning's writing. The July 18th entry is titled "Abandoned to His Will". At that point, all three of these things converged in my heart and I knew I needed to write about God's purpose for us. Frankly, it seems hard to believe (at least completely) that God not only has a specific purpose for us, but that He takes our individuality into full account when He sees it done.
And while this may sound like some fatalistic situation, nothing could be further from the truth. God does not sit there like some cosmic dictator and puppet master … the fact that He can see all points in what we call "time" from His perspective is something that we will likely never comprehend. I quit trying to do it – it made my head hurt too much. It is just another point where I choose to trust Him to be who He said He is and leave it at that. In doing so, I place myself in a far better position to submit to His purpose for me so that I can fulfill it for my generation just like David and Esther did.
The Crooked Path will be lonely and uncertain at times, but that doesn't mean I am alone or need to lack confidence. My Divine Brother travels with me and we both walk to the rhythm of Our Father. Jesus fulfilled His purpose so that I have the opportunity to fulfill mine. I need only to turn to Him and ask for the courage to persevere until I reach my mortal end. At that point, may it be said of me that I served the purpose of God for my generation.
- Have you thought much about your purpose, what God intends for you to do for the generation around you on His behalf?
- What would it be like for you to "abandon yourself to God's will" as Brennan Manning suggests? Can you see past your fear to do that and embrace the possibilities God has in store?
- Do you hear God's invitation to rely on Him, to embrace His purpose for your life? Can you trust Him enough to let that invitation take root?