One of the things I realized about God’s plan that had a tremendous impact on my life is that He created us to be eternal beings. Before I understood this, I viewed life here and whatever comes after death as two separate things, but what I learned is that this life and what comes after is one continuous event. While I’m here I can make choices based on this life or I can make choices based on eternity.
Soon after I turned my life over to God, I began reading Mitch Albom’s book “Have a Little Faith,” a Christmas gift from my son. In the book, Mr. Albom tells about an inner-city preacher. After spending much of his life involved with drugs, this preacher turned his life over to God. He took over a church in his community in a big, old building that had a hole in the roof. They would cover the hole with a tarp or meet in parts of the building that weren’t affected by the hole to escape the cold or precipitation. As I read about this man’s life, it struck me that he didn’t come to God expecting Him to make his life more comfortable. Although he kept praying for God to provide some way to fix the hole in the roof, he continued to hold services and kept helping people, telling them about Jesus, making do with what he had. He wasn’t resentful; he never complained or wondered about God’s goodness, just kept working with the little God gave him. He didn’t live in a beautiful home in a quiet neighborhood. He never waivered in his faith and never expressed anger or disappointment in God when he wasn’t rewarded with the worldly comforts most of us expect to get.
I took the book to work to read, but often had to quit because I couldn’t hold back the tears as I realized how misguided my expectations of God were and how I never even considered a plan for my life that didn’t include all the worldly stuff. I wondered what God might have done with my life if I hadn’t been so focused on this world. My life was a constant struggle trying to achieve the things this world told me I had a right to have. Yet, with each achievement or acquisition, I was left wanting more.
An eternal perspective has brought a constant joy. I don’t have unrealistic expectations that life is supposed to be fun, happy and comfortable all the time. I find joy in everything I do, knowing the greater purpose I now have. I can endure a job that I don’t often like or understand because my main work there is to see opportunities to help others and to tell them about Jesus as they become open to His message. Trials and disappointments in this life have meaning as God uses them to refine me, to make me into the person He needs me to be or as He uses me to help others discover Him. The feelings of disappointment, resentment and suspicion I felt towards most people are being replaced with love, concern and compassion and my loneliness and isolation are quickly becoming a thing of the past.
C S Lewis said it best: “Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.”