Now, 8 months later, it's a phrase that's defining my life. But we'll come back to that.
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.- Romans 8:28 NLT
But the truth remains.
However far away I feel from my purpose, I know that the things God is leading me to and through, and away from are not meant to hurt me. Does this mean I won't feel pain? No, absolutely not. But they will not lead me to ruin. There's a difference. Pain and ruin are two very different things. And some days I forget that. The disciples thought God led Jesus to ruin by leading him to death on the cross. But, God proved otherwise. Jesus' pain didn't lead to ruin, it led to life.
Now back to that phrase...
They really ARE meant to make me more like him.
They really ARE meant to lead me farther down the path towards good.
They really ARE meant to fill me with his purposes.
They really ARE meant to lead me toward life.
If you are like me, you confuse pain with ruin but you might also confuse emptiness with nothingness. Doors closing, paths changing, forking, losing what's important to you- that's not nothingness. That's emptiness. That's not ruin. That's God making room for more of himself. We have to be empty before we can be filled with His purpose. Our purposes may seem good, and right, and righteous, and valiant. And that's why losing them can be so hard. But this is when I trust that losing what I hold onto means that God is bringing about his best. Even if that means pain. Even if it means having empty hands.
So, right now, I'm learning to be thankful for pain. For emptiness. Because God is not leading me to nothingness and ruin. He's leading me to purpose and life. Hopefully, in 60 years I'll be sitting on my (wrap around) front porch rocking on my rocker, reflecting on my walk with the Lord and I'll think of this time in my life as when God pulled the plug on the drain of my purposes. And I'm confident in the fact that it will be a pleasant thought. Yes, I might remember the pain, but I'll be quickly blinded by the memories of good as well. I'm remember the emptiness, but immediately recall being filled with his purpose.
I'm excited for that day.