When we want to find hope, we often ask, “What is my purpose?”
And, boy, is this “P” word loaded. It seems so shoe-filling, like a job description. People hunt for it like treasure. They build identities around it. Take courses on it and read books.
Finding purpose is an elemental hunger. “Why am I here?” we ask, especially when our hope starts to sneak away.
The Bible teaches that God made us to reflect Him and reflect on Him. So, if this purpose-longing is in us, it must be findable, knowable, like Him.
And it must be good.
The problem is how we define purpose. We look at people with big lives or platforms and call that purpose. We see someone with book deals, a podcast, and that’s our ideal. Or we look at that ideal family—the ones where, as Garrison Keillor used to say on A Prairie Home Companion’s News from Lake Wobegon monologues, “The little town where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.”
We can put others’ purpose on a pedestal.
But like a rainbow, God is multi-hued, and so is His definition of purpose. A spectrum of variegated purposes makes our lives and seasons within those lives vibrant.
Our purposes and their timings are God’s to give. We can’t borrow them from others. We don’t say eenie-meenie-minee-mo and pick our clear path forward on our timetables.
Moses had some understanding while still in Egypt, still under Pharaoh’s roof, that he lived in unique circumstances to deliver God’s people, his people, from slavery and oppression. Moses knew his people and purpose but was kept from both for 40 years. We try to accelerate our purpose, just as Moses also did when he thought he’d try to be his fellow Hebrews’ rescuer, but God sets the times. (Exodus 2:1-15)
Yes, purpose is a loaded word. So if it’s all so complicated, how can we find hope?
Well, there was this burning bush thing. You see, the timing and precise purpose for Moses came when God showed off—not when Moses did. We see just one chapter later, in Exodus 3:1-15, that the real purpose began with a flaming plant and instructions not to go stomp on others to achieve his will but to take off his shoes and await God’s instructions. Moses found his purpose by observing God’s glorious presence and watching and, eventually, being willing.
Just so, Romans 5:2 says, “By putting our trust in God, He has given us His loving-favor and has received us. We are happy for the hope we have of sharing the shining-greatness of God.”
The shining-greatness of God!
He’s not just preparing us for a job position or a platform. He’s preparing us for glory. God never wastes.
Everything God asks us to do, endure, or obey is a purposing for our future glory. That wait you’re in the middle of? Glory-readying. That disappointment that’s threatening to pull you under? Glory-polishing. That vision of something bigger and better? Glory-preparing.
Our hope in this glory-filled future gives us the room to dream now. And the author of our dreams, the author of our hopes, will not disappoint.
- When are you, like Moses, tempted to take matters into your own hands or your own timing? (Exodus 2:1-15)
- What is it like, instead, when God invites you to respond to God’s directions, in God’s timing? (Exodus 3:1-15) How do you experience the difference?