Sometimes we need the storms

Sometimes it feels like we’re living under a cloud, doesn’t it? Life just isn’t working out the way you want it to. Sure, there are days when the sun shines and life is bright. There are days when you feel invincible. But what about the days when it feels like the rain won’t stop falling?

It’s on those days when the bad news keeps coming. Minute after minute, hour after hour, the bad news doesn’t let up. You owe more on your taxes than you thought. Your car is broken. Your child is sick. The storm damage is extensive. Whatever situation you’re in, doesn’t it seem that bad news never shows up on the happy days? No, it all has to unload on us at once, on the days when we’re already feeling like we’ve fallen in the mud.

But one thing I’ve learned about God is that He never allows anything to happen in our lives that He won’t turn into something beautiful.

stormclouds_treeToday’s verse is Ecclesiastes 3:11.

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.

There are days when life feels random, like all the little bits and pieces of life are scattered around without meaning or purpose. And I’m not sure if that will ever change for us because we’re so limited in what we can see. But if you’ve lived long enough to look back over your life, you can start to see the picture forming from the fragments you thought were unrelated.

And then, sometimes, God gives you a glimpse of just how much He cares. I mean, we all know He cares. He’s God. That’s kind of what He does. But there’ s a difference between caring and being intimately involved in the intricate workings of your personal life. It’s one thing to call you a son or daughter, but God goes beyond that and treats us like His children too.

It’s one thing to recognize that God made the sunrise. It’s something else to understand that He arranged events in your life today to help you accomplish something. That’s two different levels of caring.

People know they’re meant for more than this life. That’s what the verse means. We all have this inborn understanding that there’s more to life than just what we can see. As we get older and let the darkness of our world cloud our perspective, we lose sight of it. Or we give into the lies of our culture that say God doesn’t care. But deep, deep down inside, we all know that we’re meant for something more. That’s what it means to have eternity in your heart.

It’s difficult to remember sometimes, especially in the dark moments of life, that God cares so much about us. Because if He cared, He wouldn’t let us go through dark times, right? But sometimes we need the storms.

We need to remember that we aren’t in control. We need to remember who sustains us. We need to remember who protects us. And we need to let go of our delusions that success comes from our own performance.

Maybe you’re in an ugly situation right now, and there doesn’t seem to be any hope. But you know what? God will make everything beautiful in His time. Not in our time, because we don’t understand time. Not like God does.

God is the only One in existence with the power to take the ugly and make it beautiful. He can transform anyone and anything, but we’ve got to get out of the way.

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Rusted barrel against the garden shed - Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Purpose

What is your purpose? Why are you here? Why are any of us here? Those are questions people have asked for as long as people have been around. We need to know why. Why is that? Why does it matter if we have a purpose or not?

Rusted barrel against the garden shed - Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Rusted barrel against the garden shed – Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Today’s verse is Ecclesiasties 3: 11.

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.

Ecclesiasties is a really interesting book. Hardcore but interesting. It’s one of those books that if you aren’t careful you can very easily take statements out of context because it’s Solomon searching for answers. And in his search for answers, he makes some pretty big mistakes and some pretty grand assumptions about life in general. Not all of them are true. And he learns that at the end, but when he’s in the thick of it all, it’s hard for him to see the truth.

This passage comes briefly after the one where he is stating that there is a time for everything, whether it’s dying or laughing or harvesting or war. And actually the rest of this passage is him pretty much just stating that what God decides is final and there’s nothing we can do about it. And that we can’t know God’s plan, so we might as well make the most out of life.

And I suppose that is true. We are limited in what we know about God’s plans, but we aren’t limited in what we know about God. We know all we need to know about God because the Bible provides that doorway for us. We have access to who God is through Jesus and through the Holy Spirit and through the truth of Scripture.

Knowing who God is makes a world of difference when you’re looking for purpose. I was discussing this with a friend over the weekend. God is orderly. He is organized. He is structured. There is no chaos in Him. So knowing that God is a God of order and purpose means that there is an order and a purpose to all of our lives. Even if we can’t see the end result of that order and purpose, we know it’s there.

I was curious about the statement that God has set eternity in our hearts. That’s beautiful. Quite poetic. But what does it mean? Well, according to the Amplified Bible, it means this: “a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun but God alone can satisfy.”

You’ve heard the phrase that we all have a “God-shaped hole” inside our hearts? That’s what this is. God created each of us with a purpose. But it’s not just an everyday kind of purpose. It’s an eternal purpose. It’s the reason we were made. And an eternal purpose can’t be found outside of God and His plan. And until we embrace God and His Word and the fact that He made us for a reason, we aren’t going to be able to find that purpose. And until we find our purpose, we’re going to keep asking why we’re here.

I think that’s why so many people are lost, wandering around, not knowing who they are or why they matter. How can we know who we are or why we matter if we believe that God isn’t important? Or that He doesn’t exist?

I’m a practical person, objective-focus and goal-oriented. If I didn’t have a purpose, I wouldn’t get out of bed. If I didn’t have a reason to live, I wouldn’t. But I do. And that purpose was given to me by Someone who is orderly and good, and it’s a purpose that will last forever.

I don’t know God’s purpose for your life, but I know His purpose for mine. I’m here to do what He asks me to do. I’m here to live the way the Bible says, and I’m here to bring glory to Him. That’s my purpose. And as many ways as I can bring Him glory, I will, whether it’s through writing or loving others or quietly accepting blame when I don’t deserve it and trusting that He will reveal the truth in time. My purpose is to live for His glory. Every action, every thought, every accomplishment is for Him. And anything I plan to do, if I use it to praise Him, He will use it to help others.

I don’t think there’s anything better than that.