The missing puzzle piece and the bend in the road.
We all have a purpose for our lives. This may sound radically cliché; it may have been instilled into our heads a little too much growing up, but that does not negate the fact that it is entirely true. We have a purpose for our lives. I have a purpose for my life. I know this to be true because Jeremiah 29:11 tells me so: “For I know the plans I have for you…” The Lord has a ridiculously amazing plan for my life. I know He does; I feel it down to my very bones. This thought has been prompted by the revelation of the life of Pope John Paul II – a strangely different philanthropist of a Pope. He appeared to be following, with all his heart, the will and the path the Lord had laid aside for him. And I have had to ask myself, “Can I do the same?”
I like to think that the way the Lord reveals His will for our lives is a little bit like a scavenger hunt. When I was younger, my dad would always create scavenger hunts for me. He would write up little slips of paper and scatter them around the house, and wait and watch while I tried to unravel the clues. Up and down the stairs, outside, around the house, in the mailbox – he was amazingly creative when it came to revealing the next clue to the puzzle. And always at the end, something wonderful awaited me. Once, it was an ice cream treat; another time, a new toy; once, above all my expectations, it was a beautiful new bedroom set (which I still have and use today.) I like to think that that is a little how the Lord works when He reveals to us little bits of His plan for our lives. He does not want to give away the whole game at once – for where would the faith and fun be in that? No, little by little, prompt by prompt, every day, we get closer to the revelation of our lives; the “aha!” moment, when the curtains part, and the marvelous plan for our lives is revealed like a beautifully produced play.
I am a huge Anne of Green Gables fan. And in one part of the first book, Anne talks about the “road” of her life. She always thought it was so linear, and that she had it all worked out how it would go: school, college, marriage, etc. But then, a curveball is thrown in, and a bend in the road is revealed. She cannot see as far ahead as she had previously thought. “…My future seemed to stretch out before me like a straight road. I thought I could see along it for many a milestone. Now there is a bend in it. I don’t know what lies around the bend, but I’m going to believe that the best does. It has a fascination of its own, that bend.” I could not agree more. It may be reassuring to know every aspect of one’s life, before it plays out; it may be comforting to have every milestone mapped out. But it is not nearly as much fun, and it does not require nearly as much faith in the Lord’s providence.
I do not know what my road holds for me. I would like to think that I have a faint glimpse, maybe, of what the next few miles may hold, at the least; but I know, without a doubt, that a curve is coming up somewhere, sometime soon. All I know, right now, in this moment, is that I need to finish school, and finish strong - to perform well, to exceed academically, to love my fellow students. More than that the Lord has not solidly and assuredly revealed to me.
It is scary to not know what the future holds. A sharp turn may come up even tomorrow and knock me off my feet in its unexpected arrival. But the purpose of my life is not so much about the specific things I will do, or not do; no, the measure and scope of my life will be recognized by whether I was a woman who followed the Lord with all her heart and soul, who willingly made sacrifices for Him; who pursued Him at cost to her reputation, family, and dreams, or whether I was a woman who lived for her own desires and recognition and fame. I will endeavor to be the former.