Friday, December 31, 2010

Finding It

(This is the beautiful journal I received from a friend for Christmas...Writing is one of my "sweet spots.")

Surely we have all experienced one of those moments when we truly come alive, awake to the part of ourselves that we did not know existed. If you’ve encountered this kind of thing, you know it’s a thrill like no other. It’s not an adrenaline high like sky-diving or bungee-jumping, but it’s the rush of doing what you were specifically created to do. As far as our reason for living goes, we all have the same general purpose- to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with the Lord- but exactly what that looks like is determined by each person’s unique purpose. For some, that may be serving in a political office, exemplifying integrity in a corrupt sphere. For a different person that might mean saving lives as a pediatric oncologist. For yet another person, it could be going into the mission field and dedicating his life to sharing Christ with those who don’t know Him. Each of us was created with a combination of talents and desires unlike those of anyone else, and each of us has a unique reason for being on this earth. Often we find our reason for being here when we look within ourselves at the true desires of our hearts, the fragile dreams that we often keep secret rather than expose to the scrutiny of the world. It is there, where your yearning is keenest and your longing the greatest, that you can discover what you were made to do.

So often we stifle our hopes for the spectacular and ambitious, instead settling for what we know is safe and attainable. We become practiced and skilled at convincing ourselves that the things we long for are not what we need or what is best for us. At times, we’re completely right (no, you do need to buy a BMW, eat an entire cake, or bear Ryan Reynold’s children), but in other instances I think we need to pay more attention to desires that may very well be put in us by the Creator Himself. I love what Oswald Chambers had to say about this:
“If our hopes are being disappointed just now, it means that they are being purified. There is nothing noble the human mind has ever hoped for or dreamed of that will not be fulfilled.”

Take a moment to think about the times when you have felt most alive, most like you were fulfilling the purpose you were created for. Don’t you find that in those moments, you tasted the fulfillment of those things that you had most hoped for and dreamed of? It’s a precious thing. If you haven’t found it yet, keep dreaming and keep searching, because it’s out there. Your passion, your purpose, your sweet spot, or whatever else you want to call it- when you find it, hang on fiercely and don’t let go.

Have you found it yet?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Joyful and Triumphant

You may not see it or hear it, but there is a war raging. It is the longest and most ferocious battle the world has ever seen, with more casualties than can be counted. On one side are the forces of darkness, Satan and his minions, and on the other is God, all His angels and everything that is good. They’re fighting over you.

God Almighty is madly, passionately in love with you. He has been since He first conceived of you, since He breathed life into you and arranged every particle of your body just so. You were made to love Him. But as it is, there is one who despises Him- Lucifer, that first fallen angel, Satan. As everyone knows, the best way to hurt someone is to take away that which is most precious to him. And thus, you have become the target of Satan’s sweetest lies and cruelest affections. His goal is to seduce you, to lure you away from God and to himself because he knows that you are what God loves most. It is here that the battle begins.

Time and again, God warned you of Satan’s schemes. Oh, did He warn you. But you didn’t heed the warnings of the Most High, and you ran straight into the arms of evil. In fact, you even enjoyed it. You relished every rendezvous, savored each moment of spiritual death, and told yourself that nothing that felt so good could be wrong. And every time, each illicit meeting ended the same way, with you at God’s feet begging Him to take you back. In His mercy, He said yes. Because He is a God of justice, He said a price had to be paid. For centuries, countless sacrifices were made for your sake. Satan is persistent though, and you were weak. And so the cycle continued, with you continually forsaking the One who loved you beyond comprehension for a tawdry affair with evil.

He is relentless. His love for you is so great that despite your sordid betrayal, He was still unwilling to hand you over to the enemy. He fought for you, often in a battle you were oblivious to. And as this battle wore on, your love of treason grew greater. Finally the time came. The King set into motion the breathtaking battle tactic that would bring a sure and final victory. This tactic had been prepared since the first time you let Satan have his way with you, because He knew you could not fight the battle for yourself. And on a cold night in Bethlehem, God Himself marched quietly and solemnly down to the frontlines.

Thirty-some years later, Satan thought he had won. There was the King, betrayed yet again, naked on a cross, beat and bloodied beyond recognition. But he hadn’t won, not at all. For as any soldier knows, to draw the blood of a king brings grave consequences. And when the blood of the Most High King is willingly shed, it’s enough to alter eternity. Your price was paid, your relationship restored, your debauchery eliminated. It is not that your unfaithfulness was masked by His death, or that His death allowed your sin to be overlooked. No, He obliterated everything that stood between you and Himself. When you were choosing to dabble in darkness, you had unknowingly become a prisoner of war. His sacrifice broke the bounds of the natural world, surpassed time and space and the devil himself to wrench the chains of death from about your neck. He paid your ransom by offering Himself, and in the purest display of love that has no limits, He offered you the greatest gift- His life for you to share in for eternity.

He has fought for you, He has died for you, and He has risen for you. There may be more battles, but the war has been won. Nothing- not death, not life, not your past, not your future, not the greatest powers of evil- can ever separate you from Him. That victory is a gift great enough to last for eternity.

The King is triumphant, and you have reason to be joyful.