Psalm 138:8 The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
There are promises mentioned here which the psalmist clings to. There is the refrain “your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever”. God’s love can be counted upon, in good times and bad times. It “endures forever”, which means it’s not even limited to this life but carries into eternity. What I find interesting is the particular way God’s love is expressed in the psalm, “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me”.
It strikes me how specific this statement is. The purpose to be fulfilled is God’s purpose, not my purpose or yours. We were not created to serve ourselves, to fulfill our own desires, to achieve our own objectives. Over a lifetime I’ve learned not to confuse the two.
I was talking with a good friend the other day and was telling this person all the plans I had for myself when I was a young man. In high school I thought I would be an engineer like my dad. I was pretty good at math and science, so why not? Then before high school graduation I changed to the pursuit of a medical career like my mom. Hence, as a college freshman my major was biology, thinking I would eventually go to med school. After a year of this I realized I wasn’t cut out to be like my mother or father. I needed to find my own way rather than imitate others.
I’d been working part-time for a couple of years in a small business and realized I liked business a lot. It was interesting. I was pretty good at it, so I changed my major to marketing, which is what my undergraduate degree is in. However, as a college junior I got the idea of going into law. I’m not sure where that idea came from, but it stuck so I prepared to enter law school after undergraduate studies. Took the entrance exams and such and was admitted to law school my last semester as an undergrad. Okay, fine.
But in the end that didn’t feel right either. So I went to work in business instead.
As you can tell I was all over the map, unsure of what I was supposed to do with my life. About the time I graduated from college, beginning work in corporate America, I was starting to get connected to the church for the first time as an adult. The more time I spent in the church the more it became apparent this was God’s purpose for me. Not engineering or medicine or law or business, but ministry as a vocation. So in my late 20’s I entered seminary and have never looked back. I’ve never doubted if this is my purpose because it so clearly is. God’s grace has been in evidence.
I think a lot of us spend years trying to fulfill our own purposes only to be disappointed. Today’s passage may give us a reason why it doesn’t work out. God created us with his purposes in mind. When we align our pursuits with God’s purposes for us things fall into place. Doesn’t mean life becomes easy, quite the opposite. God often calls us to do really hard things. But there is grace in it. There is satisfaction and peace which can only come from God.
Question: What are God’s purposes for you? Are you living into them? Why or why not?
Heavenly Father, give us grace to discern your purposes for us. Then give us obedience to follow where you lead. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.