I don’t know whether it has to do with my age, that my oldest children are beginning to launch from home, or that I recently recovered from a very difficult health issue, but lately I’ve been thinking a lot about purpose. How is my role changing? Why did God allow me to survive bacterial meningitis? Am I still needed at home? Why am I so emotional?
It has resulted in a fair amount of introspection, conversation, withdrawal, tears, and even anger. These are usually warning signs in my life that something is amiss. I believe everything we say and do is a reflection of what we believe to be true about God. So when less than desirable fruit appears, I ask myself, “What is it that I am believing about God right now? What lies might the enemy be whispering? What does the truth in God’s Word say about that?” God has been faithful to minister to me in the most unsuspecting times and places. I only need to be quiet enough to listen.
While contemplating these deep thoughts, homeschool with my youngest child continues. Some days I feel like I am repeating the same instruction over and over again. “No toys in the schoolroom. Show me your math work. Close your cursive ‘a’.” I was beginning to sound like the teacher on Charlie Brown.
This week I took time to explain why I was asking him to do certain things: “No toys in the schoolroom” so that you won’t be distracted from what you need to do today. “Show me your math work” so that I can help you with your mistakes. “Close your cursive ‘a’” so that you can communicate effectively in writing. The words “so that…” helped my son understand there were purposes behind my requests. The things I was asking him to do or not do were not random. Because I love him and have the advantage of being older and maybe a bit wiser, I know that what I’m asking of him will serve him well in the future. I don’t always explain the why, but I do want him to know there is intentional purpose in what I ask.
Throughout Scripture, God in his kindness and compassion sometimes gives us a “so that…,” a reminder that there is purpose in our lives, in our trials, in our confusion, and in our obedience. He doesn’t always provide exact reasons, but in His Word, we find the reassuring truth that God has a purpose in mind. Whatever is happening is intentional. It is for our good. It is motivated by His love.
John 3:16 declares, “For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son, [so] that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Later in John 17:23, Jesus spoke to his Father God: “I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” And Hebrews 12:3 says, “Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.”
Like my son, I don’t always understand or want to obey His ways. But rest is possible and obedience easier simply because my loving God has a purpose in mind – and it is for my good!