2 Corinthians 4:6-9 (NIV)
6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;
9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
How much of your future is left? If your 68, you might be thinking… “Not that much.” If you are 18, you might be thinking.. “My whole future is ahead of me!” Or… if you are 18… you might think that you messed up so badly that you don’t have a future. If you are 68… you might be hoping you have another 20 (healthy) years to finish well…to make up for the ways that you messed up during y our lifetime.
At 18, you don’t know how long you have. But if you have just 10 years before you are 28 or a full 40 years before you are 60, you have an amazing opportunity to do life well! Take a lesson from the 68 year old and use every opportunity you have to live out your God-given purpose. If you have made big mistakes at 18, you have the chance to start over beginning now…the chance to live out the next 40(?) years in strength and dignity…few regrets! You have the opportunity to live out your purpose one obedient step at a time. You don’t have to know what your overall purpose is right now. Remember that a purposeful, satisfying life is exciting, whether you are raising the next generation or researching a cure of some kind. Bit by bit you are discovering what God wants for you. Daily, you sense you are on solid ground, rather than fighting the waves on a sinking ship.
Read the Word, pray each and every day. Ask God to show you the steps to take and then, as he gives you guidance and opportunity, take them! Don’t squander your time. Don’t kick against the challenges…the things you don’t particularly want to do. And then…live out Truth. A year from now, your life will be very different because you are different…from the inside out.
If you are 68, the advice is the same. You have squandered some years, but you know the Truth. Maybe you are already doing all you can to live out the Truth. You have lived a lot of life and you now see pretty clearly what matters. Walk in what matters. Whatever years you have left, finish well…make a difference…live out your purpose.
God is a merciful and loving God who does not stand a few paces in front of you waiting for you to fall so he can come down hard on you or say, “I told you so…you failure!” He expects something of us, yes, whether we are 18 or 68. He expects, because he knows. He created us and He knows what will satisfy, give us joy, make us feel complete. He knows we need to matter…to make a difference…to live well.
He knows that when our head hits the pillow each night we need to have some sense that we were victorious, despite the missteps of the day. He longs to help us grow…make stronger and better choices…become more like Him. He is our biggest cheerleader. He wants us to hear Him say, each evening; “Well done, daughter of God…what a day we have had! You were victorious today…you are living out your purpose. I am so proud of you. Remarkable!”