When we were heading back to the USA out of Beijing earlier this month, our passports and boarding passes were checked a half-dozen times as we made our way through the airport. Everyone’s bags were scanned and checked and screened. Every person walked through a top-of-the-line high-tech scanner as well as being personally patted down (men by men and women by women) before being permitted to board the plane.
As Bill and I and some four-hundred others making the trip, lined up to enter the plane, Bill was one of a dozen passengers “randomly selected” to undergo an additional security check. Next to him was a small Asian woman whose husband and two young daughters were waiting for her. Then came a tall, slender black man, a large black woman, and a young middle-aged talkative white woman who was part of some kind of American women’s group, plus a handful more. There seemed no rhyme or reason to why they were selected.
Had they packed something suspicious? I suddenly remembered that Bill had a large camouflage-print battery-backup for his phone in his carry-on bag. Was that it?
Or was it something in his appearance? Bill is tall and thin with dark hair and a goatee. Hmm.
Maybe Bill wasn’t friendly enough. Maybe he asked too many questions.
There simply had to be some kind of reason for why he was selected for this additional security screening. And I wanted to know what it was!
When I was a teenager, I didn’t believe in the existence of the supernatural. All of life was a series of random chance. I didn’t believe in luck or blessing or karma.
Now I see life very differently.
Now I see everything in life as having purpose. I believe that I have been created on purpose, for a purpose, by a God of purpose. The events of my life have purpose, both for God’s glory, and for my good, as well as for the greater good of others in the God’s great plan of life.
So, if God selects me to go through a trial – whether that’s sickness or marital hardship or a wayward child – I see that trial through the lens of “PURPOSE.” I am now able to see that in some way a “seemingly random event” must have a purpose.
My faith is constantly being tested and refined. My faith is being proved genuine and made stronger. God is being glorified as I stand firm through a storm even if my knees are shaking beneath me.
Other people, too, are effected by the trials of my life, whether in how I directly treat them, or the witness that I’m able to be for Christ, or even as I write about an experience that I go through.
I’m afraid that sometimes I forget that God is at work behind the scenes and I end up feeling like I’ve been “randomly tagged,” like Bill felt that day. It’s all too easy for me to fall back into my former way of thinking and I find myself deep in the middle of a pity party when things don’t go my way, blind to the fact that God is at work both in the big stuff and the small stuff.
Friends, “we may not know WHY, and yet we know why,” as my pastor has reminded our congregation again and again since a dear fellow church member died in a house fire last Christmas.
How have you seen God at work lately?
Have you missed out on seeing purpose in the trials your life?
I’d love to pray for you. Let’s walk this road together.