When you spend your days at home trying to get better from these illnesses you’re unlikely to get better from; Or you spend your days going from one medical appointment to the next; Or you spend year after year waiting for a breakthrough, hoping that this will be the year you’ll be able to work or get married or have children, you eventually start to think do I have a reason for being alive? Is there really a plan or purpose to my life?
This is an almost daily struggle for me, as I wake up and hear the traffic out my window of people commuting to work or study. Or I talk to friends and family who are working or studying or are married with children. I see that they have a very real and tangible reason why they are alive, and I do not. For me having a plan and purpose in life is so important, and I really don’t feel that I have a plan or a purpose. I feel that everything I have tried in life has failed. I feel that based on my experience in the workplace to date, that no one is ever going to give me a fair go or an opportunity to work, particularly now that I have even more illnesses to contend with. I feel that the world only values you if you are productive in some manner, whether it being at home looking after children or in the workplace. I feel that those of us who are unable to work given physical or mental challenges are forgotten.
I know that I am intelligent, in fact I’m a rather over qualified unemployed person. I have a couple of degrees of various levels, and an overwhelming desire to want to go out and be productive. That just doesn’t seem to be what God has planned for me though. I really do live a life of unfilled dreams and desires. The plans that I have for my life have all come to nothing, and it grieves me. Yet I know the Bible tells me, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” (Proverbs 19:21), and that “ The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps’ (Proverbs 16:9).
I wrestle with the idea that God has a plan for my life. I think how can I be given such an intelligent brain full of ideas as to how the world could be a more fairer, just and equitable place, and not be given the opportunity to use that. I think how much good I could do in this world, and how much I could give to others, yet I am stuck at home, going from one appointment to the next. Why God have you made me like this? The question I cry out to Him over and over again. Is this life that I am living really your plan for me? Is there purpose to all this? Is any good going to come from this?
I become so overwhelmed with the thought and idea that I do not have a plan or purpose for my life that all I want to do is to give up. Why not? It will make no difference. I am not contributing in anyway to society, and I will no longer be a drain on the public purse, I tell myself. But then I know the Word of God. I know that God commands us, “do not murder” (Exodus 20:13), and that suicide is self-murder. Deuteronomy 5:33 tells me that I should walk in the way that the Lord has commanded, so that it may go well for me.I know that God has written every day that He has formed for me (Psalm 139:16), and that I was chosen in Him before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). I know that the Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life (Job 33:4), and that God is the one who appoints the time in which man will die and face judgement (Hebrews 9:27). I know that God has delivered my soul from death that I may walk before God in the light of life (Psalm 56:13), and that there is no profit in death, as dust cannot praise Him (Psalm 30:9). Therefore, I have no right to give up and end my life.
My life is not my own, for I was bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20), and that price was Jesus dying on the Cross for me. I am the creation of the creator. His Word tells me “But now, O Lord you are our Father, we are the clay, and you are our potter, we are all the work of your hand” (Isaiah 64:8). The Bible tells me that God can use me in any way He chooses; “Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honourable use and another for dishonourable use” (Romans 9:21). Although, it’s tempting to see that perhaps God has made a mistake in making me or giving me these circumstances in life, which seem to me to be for no reason, the Bible answers that too. “… Shall the potter be regarded as the clay, that the thing made should say of it’s maker, “He did not make me”, or the thing formed say of him who formed it, “He has no understanding”?” (Isaiah 29:16).
The very thought that I have no plan or purpose to my life is contrary to the Word of God. Ephesians 2:10 tells me, “ For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them”. Jeremiah 29:11 tells me “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Romans 8:28 tells me “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” Philippians 1:6 tells me “And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” His word tells me that those who seek the Lord lack no good thing (Psalm 34:10), and that The Lord will fulfil his purpose for me (Psalm 138:8). In fact His word instructs me to “…Cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfils His purpose for me.” (Psalm 57:2).
The reality is that the plan that I had for my life is very different to the plan that God has for my life, and that doesn’t mean that I don’t have a purpose in being here on earth. My priority in life is a successful career, marriage and children. But God’s priority for my life is to conform me to the image of His son (Romans 8:29). This is His purpose for my life, and for me the process of being conformed to the image of His son is through a life of trials, challenges and suffering. This is what God sees as best for my life. It may be different to how the world views the purpose of life, but God’s word says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect”(Romans 12:2). His plans for me are perfect, and that includes His plan for me to spend most of my life at home or at medical appointments to manage the multiple illnesses and disabilities that He has allowed to occur in my life. It is for my good, and for His glory.