Devotionals

Selfish Needs and God’s Purpose

I have been selfish.

I have made mad plans for my life from the time that I was a little girl. Plans to be a singer, an artist, a teacher and architect followed me. Plans to travel, walk where the Patriarchs treaded and queens prayed to Jesus, and to stand under the shadows of the grandeur of cathedrals and castles stamped their hopes across my soul. I was called and I would go.  I never did any of these things… until recently.

I woke the other morning in awe of a recent trip to a 1,300 year old cathedral. I saw myself standing in the doorway of another in a lucid dream as the birds called to me. The air of the people who went before me felt heavy and the breathtaking vaulted ceilings held me still. I smelt the ancient relics and heard the echoes of choir boys. I was there, in reality in one, and in a dream in another.

And then it burned. A fire overtook that very place I was dreaming about just a few hours later. I wonder if God was telling me something that I couldn’t understand. I shed a few tears in selfish defeat and blamed the world for holding me in place and telling me to stay instead of to go.

Something then followed those few tears and bitter fisted hands. I thought of my grandmother and her idols. She loved Jesus so much, yet she venerated to the cloth of a baby, a statue of a man, and a candle in front of a painting. Idols followed her, and idols were gifted from her. I sometimes want to think that her love for our Lord was so great that she needed the world to recognize it through her Mary medals, and baby Jesus dolls. Rare times I think she was just a traditional Catholic idol worshipper who no one ever corrected.

With all that on the forefront and as I mourned what I perceived loss on my travel bucket-list, the Spirit reminded me of something far greater. When I was in that 1,300 year old cathedral in Belgium just a few weeks ago, it was breathtaking and surreal. As sad and heartbreaking as it was to see the perceived loss of another, I know that the Lord lives in us, not in buildings, idols, or things. We are the church, we are His loved ones, and we need to walk away in celebration of His resurrection and our hope. All is truly dust, and the big picture takes us home to Him. Praying for the heartache, for safety, and the hearts of His people, but thinking of home.

Praying for the heartache, for safety, and the hearts of His people, but thinking of home. Click To Tweet

And truly, not all is lost. God saved things for His glory and for His purpose despite our questions and speculation.

So now in my selfishness and perceived needs, I ask what is next? Maybe not what is next for grand cathedrals, the dying church in need of revival, or the lost people, but what is next for me, and for you?

Where are we being called to? Whom are we to disciple? What projects need our help, what opportunities need to be grabbed, and what prayers are needed to be said? Lord, what is next?

Proverbs 16:9 ESV

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

There is hope in those words. We can plan all day long, or 40 years, but God really defines our next step. In ministry, in work, in travel and in family, He defines us when we stop trying to define ourselves.

Proverbs 19:21

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

Grab on to the hope that He will fulfill His promises while knowing our hearts desires. He does not dismiss us, despite His timing. We can still hope to stand among those elderly churches and massive beams, and the Lord may take us right there, but hope goes beyond walls. It lives within us.

 

5 thoughts on “Selfish Needs and God’s Purpose

  1. Loss of a world treasure is like the loss of a person, in some ways. But you are correct, a building is not God, and the church is not a building, it is us who love the Lord, and worship Him. God bless you!

  2. I thought my body was His temple,
    and now my body’s burning.
    The lesson here’s so very simple,
    and from it there’s no turning.
    God does not live in a box;
    so no raiding for the Ark!
    Nor is there point in building blocks
    to show Him: “Here’s our mark!”
    He’s right here in our hands
    when we comfort those who weep
    and in blankets sent to foreign lands
    for those who shiver in their sleep.
    This here life’s no VR sim;
    We are meant to be like Him.

  3. I, too, am so very grateful that God lives within me – and, therefore, I can eagerly look forward to whatever He might have next for me! Glad you had that special trip to Belgium….a day in Brugge was part of one of our best trips we ever 🙂 Happy Easter!!

  4. Great perspective and an ever needed reminder to submit my plans to God, be active in pursuing His purposes for me, and to remain Kingdom focused all the time! It was so sad to see the fire take a piece of history, but I am with you in thinking there was comfort in knowing it was nothing more than that. The hearts of God’s people – His true temple – were not touched by the flames.

  5. I appreciated your thoughts here. I am in a stage of seeking God for what’s next and the verses you shared are really helpful. If we’re really seeking him, we can trust him to direct our steps.

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