When we think about living on purpose, it can mean different things to different people. One of the first aspects that comes to my mind is the desire to not only love God and be thankful for who he is but to also love my life and appreciate who I am.
This is not to be confused with being arrogant or satisfied about where I am in my journey. Rather it has everything to do with having peace and contentment in our soul as we allow God to change us into his image.
It's true that being honest and willing to embrace the anxiety and the unfairness within our everyday life is painful, but it's also the only way we can truly become the person God wants us to be. The difficult part of being transformed into this way of thinking is learning how to embrace not just the pleasant events but also the difficult circumstances. This is a very important part of our spiritual development and a great way to learn how to listen carefully, wait patiently, keep our eyes focused on him and trust him completely. Alexander Maclaren is quoted, "Only he who can say the Lord is the strength of my life can also declare, 'Of whom shall I be afraid?'"
We realize that many of our problems and failures are self-inflicted, but there are also times when things happen to us that are not our fault. When we find ourselves in a difficult place, we must believe this season of agony will not last forever. We can know that if we keep walking forward with complete faith in God that eventually our situation will change for the better.
Just as we can realize the whole world is not a scorching, relentless desert but also contains lush jungles, beautiful lakes and rivers, majestic mountains, forest and fields. Likewise, if you are walking through a dry and desolate experience, I encourage you to stop and consider that your oasis is possibly right over the next hill. I do not know how or when you will walk out of your desert, but the Lord is our shepherd and it's only a matter of time before he leads you into his green pastures and still waters. An amazing truth is that God wants the best for all of us, and of all the promises we can write upon the tables of our heart, we can stand with confidence on the spiritual reality of his endless love.
It's no secret we all have a certain amount of independence that wants to do things our way. We are always trying to fix our own problems, but we can look around and see this does not work out very well.
I believe that being honest with God and ourselves is a great place to begin when are trying to figure out how to deal with our troubles. Psalm 94: 18-19 gives us this insight: "I cried out, I am slipping, but your unfailing love O Lord, supported me. When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer."
The idea here is that it's all right to cry out to God and tell him exactly how we feel. If we are sad, depressed, tempted, angry or whatever, we can just pour out our feelings to him anytime. He listens to us, he sees our tears and knows exactly what we are going through.
Actually, God is the only one who can help us when it comes to healing and deliverance. Others can pray and help comfort us, pat us on the back and maybe offer a tissue, but another person cannot catch us when we are falling into a state of discouragement or rescue us when we are drowning in misery.
When we have lost all hope, God not only has the power and authority to forgive us and redeem our soul, but he is also waiting to open our eyes, give us courage and keep us safe until the storm passes. "He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty" — Psalm 91:1.
It gives us hope and comfort to know if we should ever collapse under the weight of our burdens, his love and mercy will always carry us to safety. Remember, he who created us is more than able to take care of us.
William F. Holland Jr. is a minister and chaplain based in Nicholasville, Kentucky. Read more at billyhollandministries.com.