Sometimes events or circumstances happen in our lives that make us question certain things. They make us question our loyalty. Our calling. Our mission. Our purpose. Our motivation. Our sense of direction. And sometimes it’s good, I think, to allow those events or circumstances to drive us to reevaluate where we are. To reevaluate everything we know to be true about who we are. For Christ-followers committed to Jesus, we know that the core of who we are and the foundation upon which our lives are built can never be shaken. And that’s reassuring, to be sure, especially in light of the world in which we live–with its craziness, insecurities, madness and endless pursuit of happiness, purpose and fulfillment.
But for Christ-followers, a different type of challenge or questioning can occur. Challenges that cause us not to reevaluate what we believe to be true about God necessarily, but challenges that cause us to examine who we are in light of Christ–in light of who He is–in light of His character–the things we know, with certainty based on His Word, to be true of Him.
For example, I know that God is good. I normally wouldn’t doubt that. But let’s suppose that due to the economic crisis I lose everything. My house. My car. My savings. My kids’ college fund (what little there is–sorry guys!). Certainly, things have changed in my life. But I can be sure that God hasn’t changed. I know intuitively, from the testimony of the Holy Spirit, and cognitively, from the testimony of Scripture, that God is good. He’s still good. He hasn’t change. My circumstances have changed, but He remains the same. The challenge comes, however, in my ability to process what has happened. Though I know that God is good, my experience might tell me otherwise. But let’s say my experience loses the battle, and I walk away still saying, “God is good.” A challenge still remains. The challenge then looks more like these questions: “What have I done wrong? What is there in my life that might be causing this misfortune? What’s wrong with me? What am I missing? When did I miss God’s will? When did I misunderstand Him?”
To be fair, sometimes these questions are legitimate. Sometimes it really is us who have walked away from the Lord, or who have dropped the ball somewhere along the way and the consequences for our actions have caught up with us. But let’s suppose that’s not the case. Then where are we left? We are left in the same position we’ve always been left in. The position that cries out from deep within us, “God is good. He’s still on His throne. And He still loves me, no matter what my circumstances tell me.” If we can be resolved to say that God hasn’t moved, and to the best of our knowledge, in good conscience, neither have we, we can rest fully assured in God’s sovereign providential plan that He will complete the good work He started in You (Phil. 1:6). That His plans for us are to prosper us and give us a hope and a future (Jer. 29:11).
I’ll tell you where the challenge has been for me lately. Ready? The issue of calling. Things have happened lately that have caused me, well … not to doubt necessarily my calling, but to question certain things. Issues concerning God’s timing. Issues concerning His perfect plan for me–for my family. Not a nagging thing, like a toothache or a PMSing bank clerk–but more like a constant awareness, like the beeping of a pedestrian crosswalk sign making you aware that your time to cross is almost up. Sort of like that. Not annoying. Just there. And not completely sure why.
But then this morning I read a verse that seemed to be straight from the Lord. I’ve been working slowly through Colossians–finished it up this morning. It’s an obscure verse found at the very end of the book. If you’re not careful you can miss it. I have before until today.
It says, “And tell Archippus, ‘Pay attention to the ministry you have received in the Lord, so that you can accomplish it.'” (Colossians 4:17)
Who’s Archippus? No one knows. An obscure Pauline reference. But it doesn’t matter. The point? Pay attention to your ministry! The ministry you have received from the Lord. Why? So you can accomplish it. So you can finish strong. So you can receive the reward. So you can rest assured that God hasn’t forgotten you or forsaken you. That He is the One who equipped you and has given this ministry to you. So go for it! Pay attention to it! Do it! I needed that today. Maybe you need it to.