Tuesday, October 6, 2015

For His Glory

Many people struggle with their purpose in life. Those who deal with chronic pain, illness, grief, and other life-altering circumstances are especially prone to such musings. What would encourage a sufferer to go on when she sees no relief in sight, no end to the pain? What exactly is the purpose of life?

The answer to that question is no different for the person I just described than for any other person. Whether you are in perfect health and can’t think of a thing that would make your life better; or you are a quadriplegic with constant, debilitating pain, the purpose of your life is the same: To bring glory to God. How do I know this? Because of the truth of God’s Word. Isaiah 43:7 tells us that we were created for God’s glory. In this verse, God is calling…

“Everyone who is called by My name, 
 Whom I have created for My glory; 
 I have formed him, yes, I have made him.”

God has made each one of us for His glory. This truth changes our perspective on the question of purpose, doesn’t it? The terminal cancer patient can say that the purpose of her life, even if there is little of it left, is to bring glory to God. Once she embraces this truth, her outlook on the rest of her life will be transformed. Instead of dreading chemo treatments and being anxious about her last days, she has renewed confidence that her suffering has a purpose that is greater than her experiences. She can begin to face each new day with a renewed perspective. Instead of waking up to fear and dread, she can embrace the new day, thanking God for it and asking Him how she can glorify Him in it.

My own experience has proven this truth out time and time again. When pain is overwhelming; when disappointment crushes my morale; when I long for the things I have lost, the Spirit reminds my heart that my loving Father created me for a higher purpose than just to have my own desires fulfilled, my own comfort assured. He created me in His image, for His glory, so that I can enjoy Him forever! No matter what condition my body and mind are in, He will always enable me to glorify and enjoy Him. My work is to discipline my heart and mind to believe and act on that truth.

As Paul reminds us in Romans 11:36, “…from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.” My dear friend, if you are feeling today as though there can’t possibly be any purpose for your life of suffering, be encouraged! God has created you for His glory. You are made in His image, and He will always allow you to glorify Him, regardless of your circumstances. Ask Him to show you how.

To help this new paradigm stick, I often give counselees an assignment: Write the words, “I was created to glorify God (Isaiah 43:7). How am I doing right now?” on a 3X5 card, and carry it with you everywhere you go. When fear, sadness, and frustration creep up on you, pull that card out as a reminder, and adjust your response accordingly. You will be surprised how quickly this new kind of thinking will take root, and your attitude will be transformed as you walk in obedience.