With the constant ups and downs in our lives and in our world as a whole, we may spend time wondering, What is the purpose of life? That seems like a really vague and cliche question...but has it ever crossed your mind? I know it has crossed mine. What is the purpose of everything we experience? Of all the struggles we face? Of all the happiness and/or heartbreak we feel?
A quote I read recently really struck me and got me thinking about the answer to this seemingly unanswerable question. The quote was "Life is preparation for eternity."
Sometimes, my reaction to something I read is just a loss for every word except "wow." Then the thoughts and analyzations flood my mind to the point which I can barely keep up with them. This was one of those times.
"Life is preparation for eternity." Our bodies were not designed for immortality. They will not last forever. So what is the point in worrying about the way our lives are lived during the years we have in these bodies? Eternity is the point.
Let me reference a Bible scripture here: "Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Psalm 73:25-26.
Since I'm a dancer, I for myself, I can relate life to ......a dress rehearsal. If it is faith we live by, we dress ourselves in love, humility, service, whatever we have to offer God, and the main point for all of our rehearsing is ...not the big dance recital, but in the case of life...eternity. We were made by God and for God. Once I thought about that, things suddenly made more sense.
So what about all the problems in life? Every person has problems. Life is a series of problems. We are either in one now, just overcoming one, or creating another one. So, if life is about God, and God is all that is good and perfect, then why is it full of problems?
Let me just whip out another bible scripture: " Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." -James 1:2-4
So, what does this tell us? The way I interpret it, is that God is more interested in our CHARACTER than our COMFORT. He wants us to feel happiness, yes...but he is more interested in our holiness. If we are perfectly comfortable and happy with our lives, then we are less willing to grow. We are likely to become complacent and build a home in the current state of happiness, because we are comfortable there. This is not what God wants for us. He wants us to seek HIM and to continue to seek HIM. This is why, I think, our earthly lives are for developing the perserverance which prepares us for what is to come. Everything is preparing us to be complete when we go from earth into eternity. We often hear people say "Everything happens for a reason."
All this is not to say that God doesn't want us to be happy. We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but our personal happiness is not the goal. It's not the point. The point is to grow in character, and to become more Christ-like as our life proceeds.
We constantly have something good and something bad in our lives. The good and bad in life coexist. Things in your life may seem exceptionally good; there is still something that needs to be worked on. Things in your life may be a complete mess; you still have good things to thank God for. What we should be focusing on is our purpose. Focusing on our problems is what makes us the self-centered humans we are.
Instead of focusing on the pain of our struggles, we should put our focus on God and on others. Through our struggles, God gives us a testimony, a way to reach out and reveal his presence to those who may not know or accept Him. Then they may begin using their lives to prepare for eternity.
I ask myself: What do I want the driving force in my life to be? Is it material happiness, earthly comfort, guilt, or bitternes from the problems I am facing? Or will I choose to be driven by God's purposes for my life? My prayer is that I work toward fulfilling God's will for my lifetime on earth, so that I may be ready to join Him for eternity. I want to wake up tomorrow and say, "God, if I don't accomplish anything else today, I want to know you more and love you more."
Ok whew, that's enough to process for now.