For the first time in 4-1/2 years, I didn’t post on my blog last week. Today I want to share with you why. Last Monday morning, as I started my prayer time, something very bad happened. As I was praying for clarity of purpose in my life, I was suddenly beset with a crushing sadness and began sobbing. I was devastated and inconsolable because I wanted to be with Jesus. I was tired of trying to come up with goals to work towards in life when all I really wanted was to leave this world behind and be in the arms of Jesus. Yes I know how bad that sounds. And yes, I know that life is a precious gift from God and should be received and lived out in profound gratitude and joy. But what I know and what I feel doesn’t always agree.
In keeping with his incredible mercy and grace, even while I wallowed in my own selfish misery, God carried me through the day and this past week in triumph. Sometimes in life, the only prayer we can utter is “Jesus, I need you.” And I prayed it over and over again, all day long. By the next morning, I had finally stopped crying and after sharing in God’s Word and in prayer with close friends, God began to give me a peace. I didn’t have any answers, no resolution to my lack of motivation or sense of purpose, but I did have peace. As the week continued, I felt strong again—happy even, for the most part. Still I had no answers, but each new day became an exercise in waiting and total dependence on the Lord.
This morning, still searching for clarity of purpose, I again prayed, “What is my goal in life? What is my purpose?” As if giving me the answer, God brought to mind a favorite bible story—Jesus travels across the lake to the region of Gerasenes where he heals a demon-possessed man. As Jesus is getting back in the boat to leave, the man begs to go with Jesus but Jesus says no. Instead, he tells the man to go home and tell his people how much the Lord has done for him. The man did as Jesus commanded and went back to his people in the ten towns known as the Decapolis and told them how Jesus had healed and saved him and the people were amazed and believed. (Mark 5:1-20)
It’s very easy for me to identify with the “formally” demon-possessed man wanting to go with Jesus—to be in his presence, sit at his feet and hear his voice speak words of truth and grace. To be with the one who saved him, who healed him. To be in God’s embrace. But it was not to be—at least not then. With a renewed sense of purpose, this man went back to his home and shared the story of how Jesus saved and changed his life and the Spirit used that man’s bold honesty and changed-life to bring countless others into a grace-filled, life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ.
This is not the first time God has given me that answer. It seems that occasionally, I forget that telling people about Jesus and what he’s done in my heart and my life is my purpose in life. God gave me a testimony to share and that’s why I write. I wonder if that man from Gerasenes occasionally went back to the graveyard by the lake where Jesus found and healed him. Did he longingly look out over the sea, wishing he could be in Galilee with Jesus? Were there days when he wondered why Jesus left him behind? Probably. That’s what makes God’s Word so real and personal. It’s the story of everyday people like you and me and the God who loves them and us.
Where do you find yourself in God’s story?